He Said: Old Websites and Banana Bread
I've had a lot of websites over the years. Every now and then I look back at those old sites and shudder at how awkward I was as an 11 year old. But as time goes on those sites are starting to close or get bought out or otherwise lose my account information. The only record I have of my very first website is a Wayback Machine archive of the cheesy loading page (which then shunts you to the main page, which doesn't exist) and a page of dubious weird facts.
How long ago was it? If you look close enough you can find reference to an aol.com email address*
* Here's a weird fact: I could still sign in to that AOL account! I'm also pretty sure they did the whole "we'll send you a text to make sure it's you" thing by first asking me my cell number... meaning anyone could just put in their own cell phone and be confirmed as the account owner. Also, my out-of-office reply message was a link to what was most certainly a spam site. Weren't the 90's fun?
The internet is probably better off losing these old websites (though I'm a little sad that I no longer have my random little pages), but the internet would definitely not be better off losing my last website, I Was Hungry, Then I Ate! It was a food blog that I kept going for seven months in 2010 (and then one more post 13 months later). Now, Blogspot probably isn't going away any time soon, but I can't remember my password and Google can't seem to find my information, so it's only a matter of time until those glorious recipes are gone forever! To be completely honest, there are probably only two recipes on there worth saving, but those are two recipes I find myself using a few times a year, so it seems prudent to save them before the web eats them!
Ok but, like, what is the recipe already?
First up is a saving of my banana bread recipe, but with a few updates! (See the original here, while you still can!)
One of my favorite things to make and then eat in the world is banana bread. But I never found a recipe I liked all that much (or if I liked it I couldn't find it again). So after reading Shirly Corriher's Bakewise, I decided to use her pound cake ratios (along with a hefty dose of Excel, of course) to come up with my own recipe. And here it is!
Preheat oven to 350.
Put 3/4c whole pecans and 3/4c whole walnuts on a sheet pan and pop them in the oven (while it's preheating is A-OK). Keep an eye on them as you do the next steps so they don't burn; they should be nice and roasted. If you can smell them in the kitchen, they are probably done.
Beat 1/2 stick of butter (4TBS) on med-high, or until fluffy.
Add 1/4c brown sugar (I prefer dark, but light is fine) and 1/2c white sugar and continue to beat until everything is well integrated.
Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, until fully integrated.
Are your nuts done yet? If so, take them out to cool slightly. While you're at it, lower the oven to 325.
Beat in 3 ripe bananas, one at a time, until just integrated. And when I say ripe, I mean ripe (see notes below).
Add 1 tsp vanilla, a healthy pinch of salt and 1c cake flour. Beat on very low speed until everything just comes together.
Add 2tsp baking powder and 1c all purpose flour. Beat on low speed until it comes together, then about another 10-15 seconds.
Mix in your cooled(ish) nuts. You can do this by hand if you want them to stay whole, or use the mixer on low speed if you want them to break into smaller chunks (last time I used the flat beater attachment on my Kitchenaid for maybe 7 seconds and it was perfect).
Dump into a greased loaf pan and throw the whole thing in the oven (did you remember to lower the temp to 325? Also, don't really throw it because that'll make a mess). It takes about an hour, but watch out that it doesn't get too brown. If it gets too crusty before the middle is cooked, lower the temp to 300.
Roasting the nuts is absolutely important. If you don't do them, you might as well throw away the whole loaf. (Well, ok, maybe you'll still eat it, but it tastes so good and you're going to have the oven on anyway, so why not?)
To some people, a ripe banana is one that has its first brown spot. No, no, my friends. You want one that has its last yellow spot. Trust me on this.
I used to be afraid of overmixing and I was very dainty with this recipe. As a result, sometimes it doesn't hold itself together well. So this time I mixed to the point where it was just mixed, then kept going for 10-15 seconds. It seemed to hold together a lot better that way.
3/4c whole pecans
3/4c whole walnuts
1/2 stick butter
1/4c brown sugar (dark preferred, but light is a-ok)
1/2c white sugar
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1c cake flour (can be substituted for all-purpose... but cake flour is better)
1c all-purpose flower