Sunday, June 30, 2013

taking the time to teach people things (banana bread).

Recently I've come to realize the importance of sharing knowledge. Never sharing what you know results in a waste of talent and a missed opportunity. Skills should be passed on and taken in with enthusiasm. 

Like how about that one time in fourth grade when I showed everyone in my class how to make a mouse-shaped balloon animal? Their lives surely would not be the same without said experience. Or when my sister taught me how to instant message someone on the internet? Without her assistance regarding which "send" button was the "send" button, my conversation with tiggergal92 would not have turned out very well. 

Fast forward into now-times, I've taken my boy under my wing and am teaching him how to bake. The first lesson was cherry pie, this time it was banana bread. Setting aside my pride and urge to say, "No, not that way" has allowed me to be reminded of how satisfying it actually is to make something, from scratch, all by yourself. It's reminded me why I love it.

I urge you to spread your skills, friends. It's the happiest.

This banana bread is delicious; not too sweet, allowing you to actually taste banana. Even with some healthier choices thrown in the mix (honey & yogurt), flavor is totally not sacrificed. The recipe makes two small 9x5 loaves but can be easily split to just produce one. You can also opt to make one bigger loaf and about six muffins.

(My Favorite) Banana Bread 
no refined sugar

1 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups mashed banana (about five, totally overripe nanners)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional add-ins: toasted walnuts, toasted pecans, chocolate chips, toasted coconut

Prepare loaf or muffin pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, combine mashed banana and yogurt. Mix in vanilla. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and honey until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs to butter and sugar one at a time, combining well after each addition. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Slowly add banana mixture. Mix in add-ins by hand. 

Pour batter into pans and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. A toothpick, inserted will should come out clean. Muffins will take about 22-25 minutes.

Can someone actually explain to me the science behind the fact that banana bread tastes better the next day? I'm content with accepting that it's just wizardry, but seriously. Why.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

lemon poppy seed biscotti.

The past few weeks have been filled with...things. Things pertaining to a new-found love for rock climbing, being denied surgery for plantar wart removal (Danie, why are you telling me this.), cherry pie for Dad Day, the ever-returning "what will I do with my life?!" discussion, breakfast, walking, talking, and A NEW PUPPY.

This little nugget's name is Duncan. I love him. He's fostered a love for small dogs that I never knew I had. I mean seriously, if that face doesn't make you want to cry, join the Peace Corps, throw up, and sing nonsense songs all at the same time, you're not a human.

Leaving this face makes me want cookies. All the time. Because I'm sad. 

Contrary to what you may believe, these biscotti are not puppies. But maybe they'll make you happy.

Lemon Poppy Seed Biscotti

6 Tbs butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 cups flour
1 Tbs poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest until well combined. Add eggs and lemon juice and mix to combine. Mix in flour and poppy seeds.

With the dough, form a 13in x 3in log on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, reduce heat to 325 degrees, and let log cool for 15 minutes. Cut log into 1/2 pieces and place back onto the cookie sheet, right-side up.

Bake for 30 minutes. Biscotti will be drier and golden on the edges.