Emergency Banana Bread
Today was a Hungry Day. Big time. I haven’t learned how to balance my wild appetite fluctuations and nutritional needs with the urgent cravings I am experiencing with ever-greater frequency. I need advice: when I am sure that I will die if I don’t eat a turkey burger immediately (a true story), should I go make that burger happen (I didn’t)?
I’ve always been into food, but not like this. The bowl of lightly-sweetened multi-grain Cheerios I had for breakfast (with real milk, which is pretty crazy considering I “gave up” cow’s milk back in 2001) just about put me into orbit. It’s good, right, but it’s never been that good. By ten a.m. I started to wonder if maybe I should stop at every food cart between PSU and the Library MAX stop in case I needed something to tide me over through my teeny fifteen-minute commute. Some days, all food smells make me want to fill my nostrils with concrete. Today, the aromas of frying onions and baking dough and coffee and even the sort of freaky meat smells (like, I assume, sausages) flipped some kind of switch in my guts, causing me to need everything I smelled.
Though it’s just not possible, I feel like I have been hungry all day long. When I arrived home after that epic quarter-hour commute I wolfed down two slices of veggie pizza left over from last night’s dinner at Old Town Pizza (we had leftovers because yesterday was definitely not a Hungry Day). Shortly thereafter, I emptied all of the vegetables from the fridge and pantry and made a spicy, tomato-based vegetable soup, scheduled to be my lunch tomorrow. While that simmered, I baked off some Cinnamon-Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies and gave them to guys installing windows downstairs. Tasting occurred, of course, throughout.
About two hours ago I started thinking about the slice of banana bread I had last weekend. I was at a morning event catered by Grand Central Bakery, and enjoyed a slice of their very moist and nutty banana bread. I decided about an hour and a half ago that I have never had such delicious banana bread in all of my life. I decided an hour ago that if I didn’t make something half as good for breakfast tomorrow, then my day would surely be ruined and the mental and physical well-being of the baby, the Squeeze and me would be irreparably compromised.
What follows is a variation based on the a Cook’s Illustrated banana bread recipe, not meant to be even an approximation of GCB’s banana bread, but one that, what with the wheat flour and the demera sugar and all, I can feel less-bad about eating.
|unbleached all-purpose flour||1 cup||4½ ounces|
|whole wheat pastry flour||1 cup||4 5/8 ounces|
|demera sugar||¾ cup||5½ ounces|
|iodized salt||½ teaspoon|
|baking soda||¾ teaspoon|
|ripe bananas||3||thoroughly mashed|
|unsalted butter||3 ounces||6 tablespoons, melted and cooled|
|low-fat plain yogurt||¼ cup|
|large eggs||2||at room temperature|
|vanilla extract||1 teaspoon|
|walnuts and dried cranberries||½ cup each||optional, but delicious|
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 6×9-inch loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, salt, and soda. Whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together cooled butter, yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract, and mashed bananas.
- Gently fold the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, leaving some lumps in the batter.
- Fold in walnuts and cranberries, if using. Again, be gentle and please don’t over-mix.
- Pour into prepared loaf pan, smooth out the top, and bake for approximately 55 minutes. When a toothpick is inserted into the center of the loaf, only a few crumbs should cling.