Sunday, September 6, 2009

Banana Bars

Today's recipe is a tribute to The Other Half's birth month. His birthday is coming up, and I thought I'd made dishes that I know he likes. Before you think too highly of me, the recipe was also driven by the fact that I had the following on my kitchen counter:

My default use for over-ripe bananas is to make banana bread. But last year, I found this recipe for Banana Bars in the Betty Crocker cookbook Baking for Today. It's light and delicious and quite easy to make.

When I want something fresh and warm in the morning, I generally try to prep what I can the night before. Here you see my Pyrex bowls for the dry ingredients (basic: flour, powder, soda, cinnamon and salt), the wet ingredients (also basic: sugar, banana, vegetable oil, and eggs), and the streusel (flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and pecans). Obviously, anything that is temperature-sensitive should be added when assembling and baking.

My bananas were so perfectly blackened that I was able to combine all wet and dry ingredients using just a spoon, not a mixer. Two less dishes to wash!

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I generally make citrus zest using a spice/coffee grinder. I also chop my nuts using the same grinder. With larger nuts, like pecans, you will want to shake the grinder up-and-down as you pulse the machine. Otherwise, the nuts at the bottom will get ground too fine, while whole nuts will remain at the top of the machine. Shaking the machine will ensure that the nuts get distributed, and you'll wind up with a more consistent grind.

You'll partially bake this cake for about 12 minutes -- just long enough that it has semi-set.

Today, I baked it 15 minutes, which was a bit too long. I'm a fan of the streusel topping sinking through the cake so that it is not just resting on the top.You can see below that the cake was cooked enough that it was able to fully support the weight of the streusel. This is just a matter of personal preference.

A fully baked corner piece, picture courtesy of The Other Half.

I asked him if I should post a shot of the cake that showed how much we ate at just one breakfast. He assured me that I should not. But, it was only slightly less than half of the entire thing.

Farm box ingredients used: eggs (Technically, this is cheating because I'm not currently getting eggs as a part of my farm box. But, they are offered.)

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