Wednesday, 5 March 2014

I Got a New Cookbook

It has snowed, yet again. Does the 4th of March fall into ‘lion’ territory, for that ‘in like a lion, out like a lamb’ form of weather prediction? Or is it too late to count? I swear we have another 6-10 inches out there it’s been coming down steady all day.

I received a beautiful new cookbook for my birthday, and it seems like the perfect day to sit back with a coffee and peruse the pages, maybe try one out and let the aroma of fresh baking fill the air.

The book was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law, and she was kind enough to give it to me along with a couple of samples from the book, a banana snack cake, and coleslaw.

I used to try out different recipes for main course meals, but since I live alone, that kind of cooking has lost its appeal. If I still cooked meals for company, maybe, but I don’t.

Over the years I’ve changed from cook to baker. I make cookies, tarts and cakes for the grandchildren, and they love it. At the other place I was known to bake and share the goodies with my neighbours, much to their delight. So, most of the recipes I try and collect are in the appetizer, snack, or baking categories.

There is a special knack to being able to cook for company, and this is one area in which my sister-in-law excels. Not that her everyday cooking is a miss, by no means, but she can throw together a meal like it’s nothing.

I remember staying at her home one weekend and the meals were fantastic. Even breakfast was like a 5 Star buffet, with so much to choose from. I know many women think any meal they don’t have to prepare themselves is good meal, but, there are levels of good.

Women who like to entertain are great multi taskers. That’s probably why I don’t entertain, I can’t juggle things like I used to, but when I’m alone, I can bake up a storm.

One of the samples from my new cookbook was for a banana snack cake. This is a much improved version of the old banana bread. I have a 24 inch oven, smaller than the usual 30 inch ovens, and have found over time there are some things I just can’t bake in the smaller space. Banana bread was one, along with my rhubarb loaf and chocolate zucchini bread.

Whenever I baked these, the inside stayed doughy, and the outside was hard and dry. I began making the same recipe and baking it as muffins; and that worked. I also changed cakes to cupcakes, and made 2 bite brownies instead of a pan full.

This new recipe is baked in a larger pan, but isn’t as thick, so it bakes faster.

I’ve fallen off in my baking. I was trying to make something regularly, for the grandkids and their school lunches. Three kids each, five days a week, at least 2 snacks a day, that’s at least 30 snacks a week. Even if they like what I baked, it’s got to be boring having the same snack everyday. That’s what’s good about having a freezer, it allows for some variety.

Here’s the new recipe.



1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
½ cup light sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, and butter on medium speed of electric mixer. Add bananas, sour cream and vanilla. Beat again until smooth.

Gradually add flour mixture to banana mixture, beating after each addition. Batter will be thick. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and spread evenly using a spatula. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in centre of cake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 16 pieces and store in an airtight container.

Try it if you get a chance, it was great same day it was baked, and still very moist and delicious the next day.


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