Who Doesn't Love a Hybrid?

Cookie of the Week: Installment 3

Banana Oatmeal White Chocolate Chunkers are perfect for the lunchbox.

Bananas are a staple in this house. I may have mentioned this a time or two, or 40, before, but it really bears repeating. We eat them just as they are and in smoothies, but there are usually a few overripe ones kicking around. I show them no mercy. It’s to the oven for those slightly-past-their-prime bananas, to be gobbled up in muffins, quick bread and, today, cookies. (See the link in the index at left, cleverly titled “banana,” for older banana-related posts.)
These cookies, the third installment in my we’ll-see-how-long-this-lasts Cookie of the Week series, reflect my love of banana bread and chewy oatmeal cookies. They also reflect my freaked-out realization this morning that we are out of eggs. 
Eggs. Of all things. 
Anyway, I improvised, and they turned out as I had hoped. A little chewy and oat-riddled. A little banana bread-y. A lot yummy.
Banana Oatmeal White Chocolate Chunkers
2 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups rolled oats
12 ounces white chocolate, roughly chopped (I used 3 Ghirardelli bars)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In small bowl, whisk together flour, spices and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add mashed banana and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture, but don’t mix in just yet.
Dissolve baking soda in water. Add this concoction with flour mixture to bowl with the rest of the party, and stir to combine.
Stir in rolled oats and white chocolate chunks.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls (or use a scoop, like I did) onto cookie sheets. Flatten mounds of dough with back of spoon/scoop.
Bake in preheated oven for 9-10 minutes. Leave cookies to cool on sheet for about a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Ubiquitous Banana Bread

Bananas and bittersweet

Despite the fact that banana bread and banana bread recipes seem to be everywhere, all the time, I will share mine here, if for no other reason than for the sake of full disclosure: I bake a batch of banana bread at least once a month, so how could I maintain a baking/random ramblings/food love blog without a banana bread post?
Not so attractive at this point

The man in my life eats a banana every morning. Bananas are tasty and good for you, after all. Still, he can’t keep up with supply, and several mushy bananas find themselves in the deep freeze awaiting their fate at the hands of my potato masher and 350-degree oven. Some end up in muffins, others in quick bread studded with bittersweet chocolate chunks.
So, if for some inexplicable reason you can’t find your own trusty, go-to banana bread recipe, have a go at this one. It makes four (4) mini-loaves, which I find more manageable than full-size loaves for our household of two.
Banana Bread with Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks
4 large over-ripe bananas, mashed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
scant 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chunks (feel free to add chopped walnuts or pecans, instead of or in combination with the chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour baking tins (my mini-loaf pans are about 3 x 5 1/2 inches).
Whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
Mix mashed bananas with eggs, sugar and wet ingredients, combining thoroughly.
Fold wet ingredients and chocolate chunks into dry to combine, but don’t overwork your batter.
Fill prepared tins about 3/4 of the way and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Leave in pans to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
When cool, wrap in layer of plastic wrap and layer of aluminum foil. It’s best to leave them alone for about a day before scarfing. Also, these breads freeze well.
P.S. Some folks use mini-chocolate chips in their banana bread, if they use chocolate at all. This method is not for me. I like to go whole hog and prefer an infrequent burst of bittersweet to overabundant mini-chippage.

Residing at the Apex of the Muffin World

Bodacious beauties.

I need to stop making promises I can’t keep (or, at least, keep in a timely manner). The Little House project has to wait a few days, sadly, as I don’t have some key ingredients in my pantry. Namely lard, but give me a week or so.
What I did bake yesterday was my cardamom bread and today … Banana Pecan Muffins (adapted from a recipe by Beth Hensperger in “The Bread Bible”). I ate one muffin pre-shoveling duties, another one post-shoveling duties. Then I started to worry about further adding to the jelly belly. Anyway, I can’t get enough of these muffins with their crumbly tops. I had to freeze some just so I’d stop eating them, at least for the moment.

Banana Pecan Muffins

Crumble topping
1/2 cup sugar (I used granulated but brown would be lovely, too)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (salted would be fine, really)

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs

3 super-ripe bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup pecans, chopped finely (read, to within an inch of their lives — my cohorts and I don’t like chunky nuts in our muffins; I pretty much ground mine in the food processor; do what you will)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease, or line with papers, 12-cup standard muffin tin (I used paper liners as my pre-World War II muffin tin does not behave when it comes to releasing baked goods).

Mash your bananas, then mash them some more. Don’t worry about chunks, though; you want it chunky. Set bananas aside.

Prepare streusel topping: use a pastry blender, a fork or two knives to cut the cold butter into flour/sugar combo until you have a pebbly mixture. Set streusel topping aside.

Whisk sugar with oil until frothy. Add eggs; whisk till well combined. Set aside.

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour through cinnamon). GENTLY FOLD (yes, all caps is obnoxious and I don’t mean to yell, but it’s important to go easy; you don’t want to overwork your batter) your wet mixture, mashed bananas and ground pecans into your dry ingredients. Use as few strokes as possible to combine everything. It will be lumpy. This is good. Lumps are lovely.

Scoop batter into muffin tray, filling each cup to just about its top.

Place 1 tablespoon-ish of streusel topping on top of each.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. They are done when your cake tester / toothpick comes out clean when delicately plunged into center of one of the muffins.

Leave in pan to cool for five minutes before releasing muffins onto wire rack to cool some more. Eat as soon as your hands can handle the heat. So good. As much as I love a slathering of butter, these really don’t need it, but, again, do what you will.