Sunday, January 4, 2009

Going Bananas

I love bananas. It's the most versatile fruit I know. If I would be stranded in an island with no other food but bananas, I think I'll live. Ü I like it not so ripe, slightly under ripe is better. And I like a specific variety, only the lacatan, not just any banana would do. I like the sweetness it lend to bakes goods. Richard's Mom is fond of banana breads and it's a good thing that bananas are available practically all year round. Richard and I did not spend Christmas together this year (again).Ü He went home to Palawan to spend the holidays with his family. And traditionally (since last year, more likely Ü), I baked something for him to bring home. Aside from the cookies I gave away to friends, I baked two loaves of bread: Chocolate Nut Bread (photo not shown) and Strawberry Banana Bread.

strawberry banana bread

I got the recipe of the chocolate nut bread from the label of the Baker's Secret loaf pan I bought just before the holidays. I wasn't able to taste it, but Richard said it was delicious... I really hope so because to Richard everything tastes delicious! The strawberry banana bread recipe came from the baking book "The Nutcracker Sweets" I received as an exchange gift from the office last year. It's been sitting for a whole year before I actually got to use it. Unfortunately, Richard was in a hurry to get to his flight on time, that he was not able to wait for the strawberry banana bread... So my family and I just ate it at home. Ü I was reluctant to try out this recipe the first time because it called for 1 whole cup of strawberry preserves. I guess I was anticipating that it would be way too sweet even for me. But surprisingly, the sweetness was just right. I actually like the moisture it lends to the bread. It was a little bit sticky when underdone, so the second time I made one, I made sure I baked it a little bit longer. The strawberry preserves I used was also one of the pasalubong Richard bought for me when he came home from Baguio a couple of weeks ago.

chocolate chips banana bread with pecans

New year came and bananas are still ubiquitous. So I made another banana loaf. This time, I used a recipe I had years ago from the Hershey's Kitchen, the Chocolate Chips Banana Bread. That recipe called for shortening but I replaced it with butter. I also replaced walnuts, called for in the recipe, with the pecan nuts given to me by Tita Agay (Richard's aunt) when she came home from London. I've always been curious about pecans. Very few merchants in Manila import these nuts so it was really hard to find them if there are any. It tastes just like walnuts, only milder.. but surprisingly, I like walnuts better. The bitter aftertaste somehow lends character to the nut that I just couldn't find on pecans. The bread turned out great and I like the sweetness from the chocolate chips.

My aunt liked the strawberry banana breads I made, and asked me to bake two more loaves she can give to her friends. And with all the banana-mashing I've been doing this holiday, and banana loaves coming in and out of my oven, I almost didn't want to see nor smell any bananas anymore. I was about to go bananas! Ü



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