Page 57: Banana Bread/Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Early Sunday morning while hubby was out for a sunrise surf session, I decided to whip up a yummy BabyCakes treat for breakfast. Flipping through the book, I happened upon the banana bread. Not having ventured into the tea cakes chapter yet, I thought banana bread was a perfect choice.

The recipe was for just the banana bread, but in the description Erin McKenna recommends throwing in a cup of chocolate chips. “You will not be sorry” she declares. Okay then… mine became banana chocolate chip bread.

The recipe was pretty standard – well, pretty standard for BabyCakes. You know the drill… gluten free four, xanthan gum, agave nectar. And, of course, coconut oil – which I have been using with such frequency that I recently ordered a seven pound vat of it from amazon.com.

When I got to the part in the recipe where you pour the batter into the bread pan, the following sentence struck me as somewhat odd: Fill the pan halfway with batter. See “Batter Spectacular” on page 63 for ideas for using leftover batter. I thought it was a little strange that the recipe had “extra batter”, but who am I to question. So I obediently flipped to page 63 to see what was up.

The referenced “spectacular” paragraph on page 63 recommends lining a pan with parchment paper and spreading the batter out like a giant pancake (well, I made the pancake reference up on my own, but it works). So I did, and as you’ll see in a bit it was a darn good thing I did.

The extra batter only has to bake for 10 minutes, while the entire loaf is supposed to bake for 35 minutes.  It being breakfast time and me being hungry, I had dug into the extra batter pancake long before the banana bread was finished. I was adequately impressed. I actually think next time I will leave out the chocolate chips because they really took over the flavor and I am a fan of a good, solid, plain old banana bread. But the extra batter was very moist, not too dense, and overall quite yummy.

Perhaps it was because I was so happily preoccupied with the extra batter pancake, but I completely destroyed the banana bread. Using the tried and true method, I checked the loaf with a toothpick at 20 minutes when I rotated it 180 degrees. As expected, the toothpick was not clean so I left it to bake the remaining 15 minutes. However, I didn’t use a toothpick again at 35 minutes and instead just removed the beautifully golden brown loaf from the oven.

Big mistake. Despite the golden brown appearance, it was not yet ready to be retrieved.

I let it cool while we were out for the day and when we returned the sunken center made it quite obvious the top was still mostly batter. I sliced into it and verified the obvious. There was no saving it at that point.

So I am discovering that the baking times in the book are … more like guidelines. Maybe it’s my oven. Maybe, as my grandma recently suggested, it has something to do with the weather. Maybe I should just check it with a toothpick before I call it done.

Based on how good the extra batter and the sides of the loaf were, I will certainly try this again. But for now, moving on to carrot cupcakes – coming soon!

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