Sunday, September 30, 2012

Juicy Banana Bread?

Mom makes the best banana bread in the world. It is juicy. Yes, juicy. I tried for many years just following the recipe she used and it never turned out like hers. She would tell me that she substitutes some of the liquid with banana juice from the frozen bananas and she used extra bananas. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups. That was where I always made my mistake! I finally asked her, "How much extra banana?" This recipe includes her modifications. Try it, you won't regret it!

My favorite way to eat this bread is cold with margarine. (Believe it or not with all my talk about only using real butter when cooking I honestly cannot stand the taste of it used as a spread!) Others prefer it warm with butter melting off from it. You decide for yourself.

I should also add that the pictures are a triple batch of this recipe. The bread freezes wonderfully and is just as moist thawed as it is fresh. 

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups mashed overripe bananas *see notes*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour milk *see notes*
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Freeze your bananas first. (I just toss my overripe bananas into a bag until I have enough to make bread.) Drain liquid from bananas.

Option 1. To sour milk add a drop of vinegar and let sit until lumpy.

Option 2. Use 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup banana juice from strained frozen bananas. (This is what we do and it is the best!)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream butter and sugar.
I just used the same bowl I thawed the bananas in.

Blend in bananas, eggs and vanilla and molasses.

Stir in baking soda and salt.

Alternately add flour with sour milk blending well.

Fold in chopped nuts.

Pour into 2 greased 9" loaf pans. Or several mini loaf pans.

Bake 1 1/2 hours. (Mini loaves will only take about 1 hour.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Chocolate Syrup

Chocolate syrup for ice cream, mochas, brownies, milk, hot chocolate, straight or however else you like it.

This is another one of those recipes that probably isn't as economical as buying the store bought version but you get to say that you made it from scratch.

This recipe is also for canning but if you don't want to go that far and don't have an immediate use for 4 cups of chocolate syrup, just cut the batch down. (The big 24 ounce bottle of chocolate syrup is 3 cups.)

This recipe also calls for dutch process cocoa. This type of cocoa has been treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity. It is darker and more mellow than regular cocoa and dissolves easily in liquids. There are several brands of dutch process but the only one I could find near me was Hershey's Special Dark. (That is also the cocoa I use when making dark chocolate buttercream frosting.)

Chocolate Syrup

1 1/2 cups dutch process cocoa
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (additive-free coarse-grained salt)
 4 pint jars with lids and rings if you are canning the recipe

In a large pot add the sugar and water. On medium high heat, bring to a full boil stirring often. 

Add the corn syrup, salt, vanilla and then cocoa. Whisk until completely dissolved and no lumps remain.

Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for 15 minutes until slightly thickened.

No, I didn't stick my finger in the boiling liquid. I cooled some on a plate to see if it was thick.

To can:
Fill jars to 1/4" head space. Seal and process 15 minutes in hot water bath.

For more information on hot water bath go to National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Now I need to go make some ice cream to try the syrup on....