Perfect Banana Nut Bread

First, I can say this because it came from my great grandmother. This recipe for Banana Nut Bread is perfect. It originated with my great-grandmother, then was my grandmother’s, then my dad’s. And now it’s mine. I have to share because it’s so wonderful. It’s full of butter, sugar, and nostalgia. The smell when it’s baking…oh the smell! There’s no banana nut bread candle that nears the real deal. Sometimes I bake it just so my house will smell like heaven.

It’s magic. It’s perfect.

Here’s a picture of me baking it earlier.

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See? …magic. 🙂

Here’s everything you’ll need.

Banana Bread 1

Ok, ok. Those aren’t the bananas I used. They just looked so much prettier for the picture. The bananas I actually used came out of the freezer and looked like this.

banana bread 2

See why I posed the pretty yellow ones?

Don’t be afraid. Two things to keep in mind: 1) When you freeze bananas, they turn darker than they were when you put them in, and 2) brown bananas mean delicious flavor. They’re not rotten. They’re delicious. Just not pretty enough for a picture.

This recipe calls for 5-6 ripe bananas. I only had 4 in my freezer, so I ripened 2 more in the oven. If you need to do this, just bake them at 350 for 8-10 minutes until they’re brown and smushy. Here’s the before and after of the bake-ripened bananas.

banana bread 3

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Easy peasy.

Start by whipping your bananas in a bowl. This is so you don’t have crazy banana chunks in your bread. They should look like this.

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Then add butter, sugar, and oil to the bowl of your mixer and cream together all delicious-like.

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We’re off to a good start.

Whip up 4 eggs, and dump ’em in. Then, the batter is smooth and thick, like glue.

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Beautiful.

Then, add your nuts.

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Due respect to my great grandmother’s recipe, the original calls for raisins. My dad never put them in, so neither did I. But if you love raisins, here’s where they go in, with the nuts.

For your dry ingredients, in a separate bowl, sift together your flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda & allspice.

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Slowly add this mixture to the mixing bowl.

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Then add those magnificent bananas!

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So you’re gonna bake this in your handy dandy bundt pan. If you’re like me, you’ve had many a bundt cake come apart in millions of delicious, albeit, much less beautiful pieces when you try to remove said cake from said pan. Never again, my friends. Never again. Buy this stuff immediately.

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It truly is a baker’s joy. My cakes come out of their pans perfectly.

Every. Single. Time.

Give your friend the bundt a generous layer of this magic-in-a-can. You’ll never regret it.

Pour your batter into your pan and bake at 350 for about an hour or until it’s set in the middle. I live at high elevation, and I think my oven runs a little low on temp, so mine needed an extra 20 minutes. Pay close attention to the top of the bread, and add foil to cover it if needed to avoid burning on the top while the inside is still baking.

Also, this recipe makes a lot of batter. All of it may not fit in your pan. Do what you will with the remainder, but I think the original recipe actually recommends you eat it with a spatula…it’s been passed down for four generations. There’s no way to know for sure.

Once it’s set in the middle, take it out and let it cool for several minutes. Until it’s cool enough to handle with no mitts. Turn it over and remove it from the pan.

banana bread 28And the heavens opened and the angels sang!

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Beautiful. Magic. Perfect.

Here’s the breakdown:

~Ingredients~

1/2 c butter, softened

1/2 c oil

2 1/2 c sugar

4 eggs, beaten

3 c flour, sifted

1 1/2 c chopped nuts/raisins (I use pecans, but you can use whatever tickles your fancy)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

2 teaspoons baking soda

5-6 medium ripe bananas, whipped

~Directions~

-Preheat oven to 350.

-Whip bananas in small bowl.

-Cream butter, oil & sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.

-Add eggs (well beaten), chopped nuts, and raisins if desired.

-Sift remaining dry ingredients together in a large separate bowl, then slowly add to butter/sugar mixture.

-Add whipped bananas.

-Bake at 350 in generously greased bundt pan for 1 hour or until set in the middle.

-Remove from oven and let cool before turning over and removing from pan.

Voila! I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as ours has! I can’t imagine you won’t! Let me know what recipes say “home” to you!

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Garlic Butter Herbed Chicken

Made this for dinner tonight and had to share! Super easy. Super delicious. I will definitely be making this again.

Start with however many chicken thighs you plan to prepare. I used four. With it being just the two of us, four is a good number because I’ll eat one, he’ll eat one or two, and there’s enough left over for at least one meal.

Salt and pepper your chicken thighs and arrange them in a baking dish. Choose one that’s big enough for all your chicken to fit easily without crowding.

Melt your butter with minced garlic in it, then add olive oil to the bowl and stir it all together. Once it’s combined, pour it evenly over the chicken.

Add your herbs of choice. I used dill, parsley, basil, and a little tad of seasoned salt.

Bake at 375 F for an hour and twenty minutes. This dish goes deliciously with mashed potatoes, but you can serve with whatever sides you like!

Voila!

Garlic Butter Herbed Chicken
Garlic Butter Herbed Chicken

~Recipe~

INGREDIENTS:
-4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
-3 Tbsp butter
-3 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp minced garlic
-1 tsp dried dill
-1 tsp dried parsley
-1 tsp dried basil
-1/2 tsp seasoned salt
-salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Salt and pepper chicken and arrange evenly in baking dish.
2. Add garlic and butter to bowl and microwave until butter is melted, about 1 minute. Add olive oil to garlic butter mixture and stir to combine. Pour evenly over chicken.
3. Sprinkle herbs and seasoned salt evenly over chicken.
4. Bake at 375 F for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until skin is gold and crisp and chicken is cooked trough.

Accidentally Amazing Chocolate Cookies

Ok…cards on the table…these were supposed to be chocolate chip cookies. However, through a series of mistakes, they turned into these deliciously sweet and salty chocolate cookies. They were fantastic! I doubled my recipe and they were all gone at the end of the night, so I’m calling it a win.

Every year our little town has a Christmas parade. Ours was last night and my husband’s office is right off of the main street where the parade runs, so they decided to open their doors and offer hot chocolate to the parade attendees. I volunteered to bring cookies, and I thought, “What better to go with hot chocolate than good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies?” These. These were.

Here’s everything you’ll need.

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First, you’ll mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Easy peasy.

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Then, you’ll brown your butter. Put the butter in your saucepan on medium heat and cook it down for a few minutes. It will bubble and condense and when it’s ready, there will be little brown bits on the sides if the pan. The butter will turn a kind of amber color and in the middle, it will froth up so much that you can’t see all the brown bits in the bottom, but they’re there. I had never done this before. It’s very easy, but it takes several minutes. I doubled my recipe, and my large saucepan was dirty so I used my medium saucepan and there were 4 sticks of butter in there, so it probably took longer than it had to. Either way, this process takes a little patience. Also, watch it closely. You don’t want it to go too far. Here’s what it should look like.

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Once it looks like this, remove it from the heat. Then you’ll mix it in your mixer with the brown and white sugar until it’s all combined. Then add your egg, yolk, vanilla, and sour cream, and gradually add your flour mixture.

Once it’s all mixed in, it should look like this:

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Ok. Up to this point, everything was running smoothly. No mistakes. Then I did two things at once that changed the course of these cookies forever. I added the chocolate chips while the batter was still warm, and, because I was feeling lazy, I dumped them in and used the mixer instead of carefully folding them in like I was supposed to…so they melted.

Welp…No going back.

I was faced with a decision. I either keep going and hope for the best, or scrap the whole thing and start over. I had already invested in these cookies, so I decided, I’ll push through, and if it’s really an epic fail, I can always buy cookies at the store. So I rolled with it.

The next step in the recipe calls to refrigerate the dough, so I chunked the bowl in my fridge and headed off to have dinner with friends. Not a care in the world. When I got home to bake the cookies, the molten chocolate chips had hardened into the batter and the whole mixture was totally solid…Ugh…Store bought cookies here I come…

Then I think, “it will probably soften now that it’s out of the fridge…I wonder if this bowl will fit in my microwave…”

It did. So. I microwaved my hardened cookie dough.

Don’t do that.

If you’re making these as intentionally chocolate cookies. Either skip the refrigerator step, or let them sit on the counter for about 36 mins after taking them out of the fridge before you start scooping and baking.

It look me a couple of batches to get these cookies exactly right. The first batch was my microwaved dough batch. They actually turned out ok, but I had to really roll them and squeeze them and roll them and squeeze them into the balls before baking. But they tasted fine.

The second batch was under the microwaved layer and the dough had softened enough for me to scoop as usual so I did. The problem with these is that they were taller and didn’t fall like I thought they would and because of the color of the chocolate dough, it was hard to tell if they were done baking so I left them in way longer than they really needed to go.

By the third batch, I had it figured out. Scoop and flatten on the baking sheet. And disregard the color. It doesn’t change. Ten minutes on each batch and they came out perfect.

Side note: if you don’t have one of these scoops, get one immediately! I have the small and medium scoop from Pampered Chef. I used medium for this recipe. They’ve changed my life. Get some!

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Sprinkle with kosher salt immediately after baking and set on wire racks to cool. Do NOT skip the salt. It totally makes these cookies. Trust me.

When they’re done, this is what they look like.

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Accidentally Amazing Chocolate Cookies!

Learn from my mistakes and make these delicious cookies! Like I said, I doubled my recipe and made probably 30-40 cookies and they were all gone! Accidentally Amazing Chocolate Cookies!

~Recipe~

INGREDIENTS:
-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter,
browned
-1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 large egg, and 1 yolk
-1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-1 tablespoon sour cream
-1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
-kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS:
-In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
-Brown butter on medium heat until brown bits begin to appear and the color of the butter turns amber.
-Mix butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with sugars until combined. Then add egg, yolk, vanilla, and sour cream.
-Gradually add in flour mixture.
-While batter is still warm from the browned butter, add the chocolate chips and mix with the mixer until chocolates have melted and combined with the batter.
-Refrigerate for 2 hours, then remove from refrigerator 30-40 minutes prior to baking cookies.
-Preheat oven to 350 F. Scoop and flatten small balls of dough and space them 2 inches apart on a parchment paper or foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes.
-Sprinkle immediately with kosher salt and place on wire racks to cool.

Recipe adapted from: thebitesizedbaker.com