April 30, 2013

Banana Oat Cookie Bread Bar

If I have ever had a Vegas travel recommendation, it is this: go to thunder from down under. In case you don't know what it is and don't have access to google, let me give you a brief overview. It is a show held in a small, intimate venue where there are men who strip. Yes, it is just like Magic Mike. And yes, it was amazing. It turned out to be my best night in Vegas. Partially because my friend got pulled on stage. So did a grandma named Carol. You go girl.
Just to clarify, I was totally skeptical of this show. I am a very socially awkward and uncomfortable gal who says words like vagine the lagoon and perenus and bobz. I've said it before and I'll say it again, maturity has not hit yet. It was totally out of my 'comfort zone' but I screamed and blushed and sweat the whole time. Thank God my friends are awesome enough to make me to crazy, weird things. 
Being the skeptic that I am, these bars did not seem majorly appealing to me. They seemed too healthy with the whole all oats and no butter thing. But they were good, the kind of good that's a kick in the pants as an 'I told you so.' They were cakey but also slightly chewy with a crisp top. They were also great bait. My friend's brother had a new girlfriend so we asked him if he wanted some baked goods for late night studying. When we dropped it off we just barged into his quarters in the school to get 'cover from the rain' AKA bombard his girlfriend. She complimented my baking so I love her. Done.

Banana Oat Cookie Bread Bars
Adapted from Eat Live Run

I didn't know what to call these so they have a too long, weirdly arranged name. Sorry.

1/2 cup very ripe banana mashed (about 1 large banana)
1/3 cup grapeseed or canola oil
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup quick cooking oats

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats*
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray or butter an 8 x 8 inch pan, set aside. In a big bowl, mix together the banana, oil and brown sugar until it is smooth. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, quick and old-fashioned oats until combined. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the edges are golden. Makes 16 squares. 

* I ran out of quick oats but I preferred the texture of the two oats. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of quick oats. 

April 7, 2013

Banana Bread Scones

Whenever I'm blogging, especially when I started, I'm constantly worrying about how it comes across. My main focus was to not sound like a negative Nancy, stupid Susan or Debbie downer. Sorry if that's your name. It's not you, it me. Most food blogs I read were so upbeat and 'yay for life and food!' That's great because I love people that are like that. People that are constantly positive. But I don't know how to write while sounding like myself. I'm not a happy-go-lucky kind of gal but I'm not an angst-filled girl either. So I got tired and gave up. 
On top of that, I was disgruntled with the whole food blog thing too. I have always loved and followed food blogs. Everyday I read through them, find new ones, discover new recipes and use it as a break for studying and writing papers that are due in less than twelve hours. Holla. But I felt that many of them had moved away from this idea of a 'blog,' something that captures what you're baking for yourself and the people around you, to baking for this internet audience. Appealing to what would appeal to them. (Something I've done so no judgement.) I missed people blogging for the sake of blogging, not on a schedule and just doing it for themselves. 
But I still read and love all the food blogs I did before. One of the top of my head, How Sweet It Is, is great at being a real 'voice.' She is able to post amazing recipes (I legit make at least one a week) nearly everyday but all while keeping 'blog' like. I'm not sure where I'm going with this. All in all, I got fed up with myself and discouraged with other blogs changing. But I can't deny change, even though I hate it, so I'll just adapt. On that happy note, here is a recipe!
I've made these countless times because I sold them at the Bakers Market for the last two years. For ten weeks, every Saturday I was up at five AM making these, bacon scones and apple scones. Scones need to be fresh. These days I'm not baking for a mass crowd so I like to make scones, shape them and freeze them then just pull them out and bake them whenever a craving hits. Even if you bake them and a few hours later you realize you can't or shouldn't eat them all, throw them in a ziploc and toast them later. 

Banana Bread Scones
Adapted from the kitchn

These have a crisp exterior, something I love on scones, and a soft but still flaky center. The original recipe from the kitchn was good but I've changed it throughout the years to work with what I like. That obviously means increasing the butter and swapping heart-healthy yogurt for whole cream. The first time I made them they were really soft and like lumps of banana bread but now they hold their shape and have a scone-like texture but still a great banana bread taste. 
These freeze great too, see above. Also, I like to make mini scones. Instead of forming one large dough ball, I cut it in half. Shape them both into 1-inch circles and cut little baby scones by cutting it into six or 8 triangles instead. They are cuter and easier to justify eating four.

7/8-1 cup very ripe bananas, mashed (2 bananas)
1/4 cup heavy cream + 1-2 tbsp heavy cream
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) cold butter, cut into little cubes
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a one-cup measuring cup, add the two mashed bananas. Most times mine came to a scant cup, about two tablespoons short of a cup. I would then fill the rest of the cup with heavy cream. However if the banana reaches one cup it's not a big deal. Pour the banana/cream mixure into a small bowl. Then add the extra 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Mix until combined, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until completely combined. Add the cold butter to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, forks, your hands or a food processor, mix the butter until it looks like a sandy mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Create a little well in the center of the flour-butter mixture and add the banana mix to it. Knead this until it just comes together. I mix it with a spatula then switch to my hands to fold it together and form it into a ball. Take the dough and put it on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Pat the dough into a 1-inch thick circle. Cut the circle into 8 triangles. Space the scones out and then freeze on the baking sheet for 30 minutes in the freezer. (Or if you're a dingus like me, leave them in there all night because you forgot.) Preheat the oven to 400º. Pull the scones out of the freezer and bake them for 16-20 minutes. I check the bottom of the scones to make sure they are golden with bits of brown to know that they are done. Remove from the oven and eat them right away with butter, honey, jam, peanut butter, nutella, you name it. Makes 8 scones.