Dear Diary & Readers,
I’m going to miss summer, but who can resist the crunchy leaves, warm sweaters, comfy pajamas and most of all, the flavors of fall?!
There’s something about baking breads that I really enjoy. It’s almost like a one pot meal – combine delicious ingredients and let the oven do the rest, while it fills your home with delicious aromas. Breads don’t need to be layered or frosted, they are rustic and they are simply delicious. Basically, I have fallen in love with fall breads.
The first is a Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Bread which my Dad and I recently created. I remember this delicious, moist banana bread from my childhood that my dad baked every fall. My family was crazy about it. We ate it warm, right out of the oven, for breakfast the next day and my Mom packed it in our school lunches.
Recently, my friend Tiffany had Banana bread on the mind too, talking about finding ripe bananas all week. Her birthday was coming up, so I wanted to surprise her with one at work the next day. I texted her sister, Najmah “Please don’t let your sister bake banana bread!” “Too late.” She replied but we both decided that the more the merrier.
I asked my Dad if he could show me how to bake it and he was happy to help. He has always enjoyed baking and never really followed a recipe. He created his own recipes and followed them from memory. That night, when I asked him how much of this or that, he told me the more the better, the more bananas, the more sugar, that’s the trick. The more the merrier! Since I wanted to give Tiffany the recipe, we wrote down the amounts and directions. I was happy that her and our coworkers enjoyed it.
That next Sunday, for family dinner, I baked the banana bread again, tweaking the recipe by adding in more bananas like my Dad always used (I didn’t pick up enough the first time) to really get the banana taste and more moisture, a pinch of cinnamon for depth and chocolate chips, because chocolate makes anything better! One technique that I love about our recipe is the “butter/milk”. My dad never used store bought buttermilk for baking, but would essentially mix melted butter and milk together instead. The banana bread is so delicious that I like to think it is because of the butter/milk! I love you Dad.
Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Bread
by Stephen Camelio & Caitlin Gaudette
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 pinch cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) regular salted butter plus 2 Tbsp
1/3 cup whole milk
5 ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped walnuts plus some for topping
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli) plus some for topping
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1. Preheat oven to 350ºF, spray a loaf pan with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
2. Melt the 2 Tbsp butter, whisk into the milk and set aside.
3. In a food processor, add 4 bananas chopped and a dash of the butter/milk mixture and pulse until smooth.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, sift the flour, salt, pinch of cinnamon and baking soda.
3. With the mixer on medium speed, add the brown sugar, softened stick of butter and crack in the eggs.
4. Next, add the banana mixture and the rest of the butter/milk mixture.
5. On low speed, add the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips until combined.
6. Pour mixture into the bread pan, top with slices of last banana and chocolate chips and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake for 45-50 minutes. When cooled, remove the bread, slice and enjoy!
The second is Food Network Magazine’s Pumpkin Spice cake which I found In this month’s issue, in the insert with 50 things to make with canned pumpkin. With the leftover pumpkin from the bread, I made the pumpkin lattes for my family and it was a big hit. Thanks Food Network!
The first time I baked the bread, I loved how close it was to the Starbucks pumpkin loaf, which is very similar to pound cake. It’s moist, it’s full of pumpkin flavor with a little kick from the pumpkin pie spice. So the second time I baked it, I made one plain and one with chopped pumpkin seeds (pepitas) like the Starbucks version, sprinkling them all over the top of the batter. The result? Delicious! I love bringing in new recipes for my coworkers. Both breads were gone by lunch time. I always take that as a good sign! Give this recipe a go! What’s next to try? My Dad’s pumpkin pie…
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Adapted from Food Network Magazine – October 2013 P.123
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp + 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas) for topping
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1. Preheat oven to 350ºF , spray a loaf pan with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift flour,pumpkin pie spice, baking pwder, baking soda and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, then crack in the eggs.
4. to the mixer, add in the pumpkin, pinch of cinnamon and vanilla. while mixing, add in the dry ingredients.
5. Pour mixture into the bread pan (If adding pumpkin seeds, sprinkle generously on top of the batter) and bake for 25 minutes. When cooled, remove the bread, slice and enjoy!
Happy Fall & I hope you love these breads as much as I do!