April 2013

Sunday Recipe: Banana bread that’s not terrible for you


This is an adaptation of my mother-in-law’s recipe, which, being the first banana bread I ever tasted, has shaped the way I think banana bread should taste. My then-boyfriend-now-husband would get care packages our freshman year in college, half-loaves of banana bread wrapped in tinfoil, ready to be slathered with butter. In retrospect, her recipe has way too much sugar, so I cut it in half. I also added another banana, a wee bit of salt and my go-to solution in making desserts healthier: whole wheat pastry flour. It’s not that it’s terribly good for your either, but it’s glycemic index value is somewhat lower, and more importantly, it has much more nutrients than white flour. Because it’s a pastry flour, it won’t weigh down your cake the way an ordinary whole grain would.

1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar
1tsp salt
1tsp baking soda

1/3 cup veggie oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup + 1tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
3 bananas

optional: walnuts, chocolate chips

Mix the dry ingredients (in the larger bowl; in the mixer bowl if using a stand mixer), in a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients by adding first the oil, beating the eggs in one at the time, then adding the buttermilk, mashed bananas and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix well.
Bake at 325°F for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until done (time calculated for sea level.)

Sunday recipe: simple thumbprint cookies

Simple and tasty; but let’s talk about the butter. This is a Swedish recipe, and in Sweden, the default butter is lightly salted, not unsalted. So either use 1/2 salted and 1/2 unsalted, or unsalted with a dash (2 shakes from shaker, I’d say) or table salt.

Makes about 2 sheets’ worth.

200g butter, room temperature
1 dl and 1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 dl AP flour
raspberry jam

Cream the sugar, vanilla and butter. Add the flour bit by bit until crumbly, then use your hands to press into a big ball. Form small balls, about the diameter of a quarter, and place on cookie sheet, at least an inch apart. Flatten the balls, then make an indent with your thumb, or better, knuckle, in each. Using a small spoon, drop jam onto each cookie. Bake at 350 F for 8-13 minutes depending on oven; the cookies shouldn’t brown. Undercooked cookies isn’t a disaster, they’re just a little crumblier and the jam isn’t firm.
Helpful hint: if you’re using less runny jam, remove the cookies from the oven after about half the baking time, poke the jam with a toothpick so that it forms a uniform pool, then put the cookies back and finish baking.



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