24 December 2006
A New Fling: Banana Bread with Booze and Raisins
Yesterday I decided it was time to break up with my banana bread recipe from The Joy of Cooking. I’m not really sure what possessed me to make this sudden life change, as things were really going great for us. It’s just that our relationship was becoming so familiar, so comfortable, and I was itching for a something new.
It was very difficult to initiate the break-up. I had it to do it in person, of course. You can’t text message someone you love that you are going to break up with them, just like you can’t text message banana bread that you are going to be using a different recipe from now on. It’s just not the right thing to do.
As I opened up The Joy of Cooking to give it the bad news, my heart collapsed with guilt when the book opened automatically to the banana bread recipe. Was it true love, or was it because of all the crap that I have spilled on those welcoming pages throughout the years? I do hope the latter is true, otherwise I have wasted my beautiful, brown, almost-rotten bananas on a new recipe that might not work out.
The recipe was overwhelmed with despair when I informed it of my situation. As it pleaded with me and listed reason after reason why we should stay together and try to make it work, I insisted that the good times were over...that things were wonderful while they lasted, but that it was time move on. I lovingly caressed its spattered pages, wiped away its tears (or maybe those were butter stains), and I closed the book.
Call me a recipe slut if you will, but the Joy of Cooking was not closed for even three seconds before I opened up Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I don’t know...maybe I should have given my emotions some time to settle. Maybe I should have stayed single for awhile before venturing out into the sea of banana recipes. But it’s so easy to move on when the first recipe you are attracted to has booze and golden raisins in it! And we all know that if anything can tempt a girl into a rebound relationship, it’s booze and raisins.
How is the new fling going? So far, pretty good. The bread hasn’t been sliced yet, so I can’t share any intimate details, but our getting-to-know-you stage is progressing just fine. I’d have to say that for once it’s fun to get to know someone before hastily jumping in and getting romantic right away. The anticipation is half of the fun. What will the new banana bread taste like? Will it it have a moist yet fluffy texture? Will it soothe me when I am sad? Will it make me laugh? Will it rub my back after a long day at work?
I definitely have my doubts...maybe I have too many expectations for Nigella’s loaf. What if it’s flat and soggy? What if it tastes more like flour than bananas? What if it’s boring, self-absorbed, and drinks Yellowtail?
There is so much to find out about this new recipe. As I introduce it to my family during our first Christmas together, I will undoubtedly learn more about its strengths and weaknesses. More details to come.
Banana Bread with Booze and Golden Raisins
~from Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking
1/2 cup golden raisins
6 tbs. bourbon or dark rum (I used brandy because that's what I had)
1 cup plus 2 tbs. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract
9 x 5 loaf pan, buttered and floured, or with paper insert
Put the golden raisins and rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat, cover, and leave for an hour if you can, or until the raisins have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain (or drink).
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained raisins, and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick should come out cleanish. Leave in the pan on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.
Makes 8-10 slices.
Replace 2 tbs. flour with good cocoa powder and add 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, cut up into smallish chunks (or use chocolate chips).