Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rainy Baking Sunday

Sunday might be my favorite day of the week. We always wake up early because we are used to waking up early, but it's nice to not rush around and go to work. This morning Mr. Hunting Creek said, "Oh no! We forgot to get coffee yesterday!" So he got dressed in jeans and went to fetch provisions. I teased him about going in his pajamas; he informed me that he had seen people at Starbucks on previous Sunday morning coffee runs in their pajamas. But we have our standards. Jeans and brushed hair and teeth at least, besides, what if he saw someone we know? That always happens if you go out in your pajamas, I think. It's asking for trouble.
He brought in the 2 kilos of newspaper and made coffee and then since no one else is awake, we read particularly interesting or outrageous articles to each other.

Since it is a rainy Sunday, I baked banana bread, cinnamon raisin bread, and by special request, bran muffins for breakfast all week. Have you noticed how expensive bought muffins are? Ms. Hunting Creek looked it up online to see how many calories and it said the Starbucks Bran Muffins had 400 calories each. We can do better than that, I told her. I bet that theirs are full of fat and sugar.

My banana bread recipe is IMHO simply the single best banana bread recipe EVER. No other banana bread recipe that I have ever tried has surpassed it. I don't remember where I got it, but I've had in in my personal cookbook binder since I have been married, which makes it almost 30 years old.

Best Banana Bread (Really)
makes one loaf (9" x 5" loaf pan)
Grease and flour your pan
Preheat your oven to 350
Blend together
2 ripe bananas, mashed (By ripe I mean getting brown and mushy)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk ( I have also used yogurt or sour cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla ( or use rum, that's delicious too)
then add
1 3/4 cups flour ( or use half whole wheat and half white flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional 1 cup chopped walnuts (my son dislikes nuts, so we take turns with the nuts. If I put them in he complains, but he still eats it)

Add to loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes- check and see if it needs longer. Mine this morning took about one hour and 15 minutes. Depends on the weather and atmospheric conditions, I think. Sunspots maybe? Or magic. Let it cool before you slice it. It is delicious toasted with or without cream cheese. I eat some for breakfast with coffee. It doesn't last long.

The Bran Muffin recipe is from Morning Food, by Margaret Fox, pictured above. ( A great cookbook, by the way and highly recommended.)

Bran Muffins
These are not too sweet - they are MUFFINS, not cupcakes, and do not have a zillion calories like those poseurs at Starbucks.

1 egg
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup strong coffee ( I used leftover coffee from breakfast)
1 cup buttermilk (buttermilk is low fat, you know)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cup flour (you can use half while and half whole wheat, but they'll be heavier)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons oat bran ( I didn't have this, so I used oatmeal instead)
1 1/2 cup bran cereal (such as All Bran. I used the kind from Trader Joes. It looks like hamster food)
1/2 cup raisins or any other dried fruit (as mentioned previously, I live in Anti-raisin country. Ms. Hunting Creek, who wanted these for her breakfast all week, added a half cup of slivered almonds and a half cup of chocolate chips. "Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins?" "yes," she said "I want to look forward to eating them"
Mix all this together. You don't want to beat muffin batter too much. It causes trouble...tunneling, toughness...anyway, you'd get marked down in 7th grade Home Ec for that move, so don't over beat. The recipe says to leave the batter overnight in the fridge but I have never done that (not a long range muffin planner) and they always come out great.(But it's nice to know that you could do that if necessary) Scoop into muffin tins and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. We used texas size muffin tins so we had eight huge muffins that took about30 minutes. When we sampled one ( for quality control purposes only) it was delicious. Chocolate chip-almond bran muffins are a great invention. You heard it here first.
I hope you also have a great rainy Sunday.
Happy Baking!


Joyce said...

well I will definitely be giving your recipes a try. My (adult) son's favorite add-in to banana bread is baking gumdrops, and I have to agree. That loaf never makes it to the point of cooling down in our house. Your bran muffins sound great too. If I can't sew, I guess I can at least bake:)

Toby Wollin said...

I have family raisin issues also. I also have nut issues. The Boy will not eat raisins baked in anything; Elder Daughter will not have nuts. Baking cinnamon buns Chez Siberia is very difficult for that reason, so I taught The Boy to make his own. No one but the DH and I like banana bread, so I make it with all the nuts I like. (coffee in bran muffins? Now THAT would definitely make them 'expeditious')