I suppose food is my hobby, and, a hobby that I’m quite passionate about. I love everything about food. I love to make it, photograph it, write about it, talk endlessly about it, meet chefs, talks to chefs, and to travel far and wide to find the best products and dishes a gal can eat. If someone told me they had found the best ice cream, pizza or sushi, then I make it my mission to search out that place and see for my self what the brouhaha is all about.
Recently I turned to my friend Gail, as we were out on one of our weekly culinary re-con missions, and asked her, “are you willing to drive over an hour for what I hear is incredible bread and some seriously good coffee?” She quickly gave me the thumbs up. So, off we went, barreling down the 101 freeway headed towards downtown Los Angeles through some pretty gnarly traffic; which we call just an average day here in the City of Angels. I had heard from some of my carbohydrately obsessed friends that there was a bakery/cafe on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles that baked some of the best breads and pastries this side of the LA River. My, but I was intrigued. As we drove, my small car sandwiched in between semi’s and eighteen wheelers making so much racket that we couldn’t even communicate with each other, we wondered if we were both out of our minds to continue this quest. But continue we did.
Bread Lounge is located in the “Arts” district in downtown Los Angeles. The super good news is that there’s a free parking lot located in the back of the restaurant. The restaurant is small and somewhat industrial looking, yet it still has a warm ambience to it, which was probably due to the lively youthful crowd that was spilling out the door and down the street. I guess the word has gotten out about their amazing goodies. I am told that owner/baker Ran Zimon learned his craft in Israeli bakeries. As Gail and I stood in line waiting to order, we grabbed jars of homemade preserves with flavors like Peach-Mango-Passionfruit and packages of boxed cookies ready to go. For a small joint, the selection was pretty vast. They offer fresh made salads, paninis, and sandwiches made on the most awesome of baguettes and breads. I ordered the Smoked Salmon Sandwich and the Roasted Beet Salad with Chicken, both excellent choices.
But the best was yet to come. Gail and I ordered a cross-section of The Bread Lounge’s flakey pastries such as their custard filled timbale, chocolate croissant and pain au raisin. I guess what I’m telling you is, if you’re as obsessed with authentic French-style pastry as I am, then you must make the trek to the Bread Lounge.
The Bread Lounge – 700 S. Santa Fe Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90021
But what good is pastry without a good cup of coffee, am I right? Recently I had dinner at a restaurant called Red Medicine. I usually find restaurant coffee overly bitter or just plain watered-down, but the coffee they served tasted just like, well, coffee. Imagine that. Really, what’s a girl gotta do to get a good cup of joe in this town. I was told the brand they serve was called Handsome Coffee Roasters. Okay, so now I had to figure out how to get my hands on a bag of these beans. After doing a little research I discovered that their coffee roasting facility was in downtown Los Angeles and just a few blocks from Bread Lounge. Yay, must be karma. Good bread and good coffee in one easy downtown location!
As Gail and I made our way to the entry of Handsome Coffee Roasters we had to fight our way through lights, cameras and dozens of “extras” dressed in winter clothing although it was 85 degrees in Los Angeles. Only in LA. The facility was closed because they were filming an episode of ABC’s Castle that day. We would not be deterred. After some cajoling, and a lot of tears, the manager told us to go around to the alley and he would sell us some coffee. It was actually kind of cool because they allowed us to see all the behind-the-scenes equipment and just how the coffee is roasted.
So, happily we scored ourselves of couple of bags of coffee and we were on our way. Now I can enjoy a great cup of Handsome coffee each day in the privacy of my own home. So, for those of you who don’t live in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area, just go to your computer and order online.
Handsome Coffee Roasters – 582 Mateo Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
It’s September, and son #2 is out of the house again living the high-life as a student in Santa Barbara where he’s studying to be an EMT. It’s a hard program, so let’s all pool our positive thoughts together and send them in his direction. Thanks guys! Anyway, he’s been up there about a month, but he’s coming home this Sunday and we’ve decided to have a little brunch in his honor…cause his mama misses him so much! My parents are coming over, because they too miss him a great deal, and his big brother, son #1 is coming, but he won’t admit how much he misses his younger brother. Ah, kids!
I’m preparing all his favorites; homemade waffles, fresh fruit and crispy bacon. He has requested that I bake this Chocolate Chip Cornbread which he likes toasted and topped with a big slab of butter. I’ve made cornbread a million different ways, but I particularly like this one for breakfast because it’s a little bit sweet and a little bit savory. If you can, it’s a treat to serve it right out of the oven.
Chocolate Chip Cornbread
From Bon Appetit
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- Place the oven rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9″ x 5″ metal loaf pan with cooking spray, or you can use mini loaf pans or muffins tins if you wish. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the milk, oil and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir just until all the ingredients are incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s).
- Bake the cornbread until the top starts to turn a little golden, and when a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. For the 9″ x 5″ pan, bake about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. The cornbread is best served warm with a little butter.
As with all batters, mix this one just until all ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix.
I think everyone should have a good banana bread recipe in their baking repertoire. It’s just a good go-to cake that lends itself to many occasions. This is a great bread to bring to showers and brunches, birthdays and lunches. It’s great with a cup of coffee or tea, and even a big glass of milk.
This particular recipe comes to us from my good friend Gail Berger. She is a baker extraordinaire. We met while we were both attending a professional baking program and have been culinary soul mates ever since. Gail is definitely a kindred spirit and we spend many hours on end together trolling the bakeries, cafes and eateries of Los Angeles searching for the ultimate in baked goods. Yeah, we complain about our weight a lot, usually as we’re downing a chocolate chip cheesecake or an expertly crafted dobos torte. But we continue relentlessly on our journey in search of that holy grail of baked goods.
I think you’ll be as pleased with Gail’s recipe as I was. It’s extremely moist (which is actually a term I find bizarre in describing food items), the walnuts give the bread a nice crunch, and the dates add a pleasing texture to the bread. When I wrapped this bread in plastic wrap and let it sit over night the flavors in it melded together and tasted better the second day. You might just want to try that approach.
Banana Date-Walnut Bread
Recipe Courtesy of My Friend Gail Berger
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (if you don’t have it, you can use powdered)
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 6 dates chopped (tossed in 1 teaspoon of flour to keep them separated)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with melted butter.
- In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together and set aside.
- Cut up the bananas in chunks and place in a large bowl and mash them with a spoon. Take the banana mixture and place it into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and add the sugar. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it’s light and fluffy. Add the butter, eggs and vanilla extract and beat on medium, just until incorporated. Scape sown the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed just until ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the nuts and dates.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and give it a good rap on the counter to get out any air bubbles.
- Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for about a half-hour and then turn out to cool completely on a rack before slicing.
You know, here at Mama’s Gotta Bake we’re not only about the sweet and sugary. Yes, I do dream about large chocolate cakes dripping in buttercream icing, but sometimes I like to cross over to the dark side and bake something using more savory ingredients.
I had a large bag of shallots and some fresh thyme left over from a meal I made a few days ago. I happen to love the combination of these two ingredients and remembered a dinner roll recipe I found in a very British cookbook I have. I’m obsessed with baking tins and pans of all sorts, so being the wild-and-crazy girl that I am, I decided instead of making these rolls in a standard muffin tin, that I would use the dariole molds I had just gotten a week before. Dariole molds are also called baba molds or timbales. You can find them at most cooking stores or restaurant supply stores.
Shallot & Thyme Dinner Rolls
From “The Perfect Afternoon Tea”
- 8 ounces shallots, peeled
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking shallots
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for cooking shallots
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme minced, plus additional sprigs for garnish
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
- 4 ounces soft herb and garlic cheese ( I used this)
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place oven rack in the center position. Using a pastry brush and melted butter, grease 10 dariole molds (baba molds). I used these molds because I thought they would make an interesting looking roll, but you could however, just make them in a standard size muffin tin or even in mini muffin tins.
- Drop the shallots into a medium sized saucepan of boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes and then drain. When cooled, slice the shallots into quarters.
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until they are caramelized on all sides. Stir in the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cool and set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.
- In another bowl, with the mixer on medium-low, beat together the soft cheese, milk, eggs and melted butter. Pour into a well in the center of the dry ingredients and blend until incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Scrape the shallots and the liquid into the batter (reserving some to top each roll) and stir lightly.
- Divide the batter between the molds and fill 3/4 full. Place a shallot and some thyme sprigs on top.
- If using the dariole mold, bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch and lightly browned. If using a mini muffin tin, adjust the time accordingly. These are best served warm. To re-warm them, I just popped them in the microwave for about 20 seconds and they were great.
Makes 10 tall muffins
Like most batters, do not over mix the ingredients. Mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Today’s post is about a tea cake with tons of fresh citrus, sweet butter and eggs. But wait…there’s more! Act now, and you get the toasted walnuts and shiny orange glaze too. So, do I have your attention, sound good, huh?
Recently for reasons unknown to me, I decided that a 4pm each day, I was going to stop what I was doing and sit down and have a cup of tea. A quiet time to reflect on what I had accomplished in my day so far, and to contemplate what tasks were still on my agenda. It seemed so civilized to me. Certainly one couldn’t have tea without it being accompanied by a proper tea cake. One of my all-time favorites is this Orange Walnut Bread. It’s not overly sweet, and the bits of orange rind give it that fresh citrus-y flavor which compliments the earthy crunch of the toasted walnuts.
I really think that this new ritual of mine will help me to be more productive, or maybe I’m just kidding myself. Maybe it’s just another reason I’ve drummed up to eat more cake .
Orange Walnut Bread
- 4 ounces of unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- grated rind of 1 large orange or 2 small oranges
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted*
- Orange Syrup
- Orange Glaze
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. What I find that works best is to melt a little butter and using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter inside the pan in all the nooks and crannys. Then dust it with flour, shaking out all the excess.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the 3/4 cup sugar gradually, beating until light. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, and the grated orange rind.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry mixture to the batter alternately with 1/2 cup orange juice, beginning and ending with the flour. Gently mix in the walnuts. Transfer this mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.
- Wash out your mixer bowl and dry completely. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them carefully into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, set on the middle rack and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until lightly golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean.
- While cake is baking make the syrup mixture. When cake is done, using a wooden skewer or toothpick, poke holes in the top of the cake and spoon the hot syrup over the bread. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
You’re going to stir together the sugar and juice in a small pan over a medium heat until it develops into a light syrup. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 3-4 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
Place these ingredients in a small bowl and whisk or stir with a fork until you achieve the desired consistency for the glaze. If you like a thicker glaze add more sugar, if you prefer a thinner glaze, add more orange juice.
*Toasting Nuts: I always like to toast nuts when I’m adding them to baked goods. Why, you ask? Toasting nuts releases their natural oils and gives them a deeper flavor. Toasting will make the nuts crispier too, giving your baked goods more texture. I place the nuts in a small frying pan over a medium heat. I constantly stir them with a wooden spoon because you don’t want them to burn. It takes about 6-8 minutes to toast them, you’ll start to notice a fragrant smell coming from them as they begin to toast.
Egg Whites: When beating egg whites, make sure there is no yolk in the whites or they will not become stiff. Also make sure your mixer bowl and utensils are completely clean and free of grease, butter or oil, as this will cause your egg whites not to become stiff also.
Southern Californians are a funny lot. No matter how cold it gets, and for the past two weeks it has been very cold, Southern Californians will wear shorts and flip-flops no matter what. I noticed this strange phenomenon yesterday as I was shopping at an outdoor mall. Me, bundled in a winter coat and scarf, and everyone else lollygagging about in their Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirts and sundresses. I really admire their spirit, and for some folks it really is an endless summer. And why not. Maybe it’s the thin, east-coast blood that runs through my veins, but I was headed home to have a big bowl of chili and these homemade corn muffins. I was embracing the brisk winter weather with some down-home comfort food.
Anyway, son #1 had given me the Bouchon Bakery cookbook for a gift and I was anxious to try out some of the recipes. What I like most about the book is that it’s recipes are written in both cups and grams. As a gal whose obsession is baking, naturally I prefer gram measurements. Why, because baking is a science and grams are a precise measurement. When you weigh your ingredients your chances of a successful end product are almost guaranteed. Even if you’re just an occasional baker, I highly recommend you get yourself a digital food scale. You know I would never steer you wrong.
Thomas Keller explains in the book that the reason for allowing your batter to sit overnight is for the purpose of hydrating the flour. When the mixture absorbs the liquid ingredients, the result is a very moist corn muffin.
From Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery
- 1 1/4 cups + 3 tablespoons (201 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (51 grams) cornmeal
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 grams) baking powder
- 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons (135 grams) sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2/3 cup (168 grams) whole milk
- 2 large eggs (90 grams)
- 1/4 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons (90 grams) canola oil
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (72 grams) frozen corn kernels
* If you do not have a scale to weigh out the eggs, take your 2 large eggs and lightly beat them in a bowl and then remove about 1 teaspoon and that will be about 90 grams.
- Place the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sift in the cornmeal and baking powder. Add the sugar and salt and mix on the lowest setting for about 15 seconds to combine. Add the milk and eggs and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, just until combined. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the oil, then increase the speed to medium-low and mix for about 30 seconds to combine.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all the dry ingredients that may be stuck to the bottom. Fold in the corn. For best results, transfer the batter to a covered container and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with liners. Lightly spray the liners with nonstick spray. Spoon the batter into the cups about 3/4 full.
- Place the pan in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until muffins are lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When done, place the pan on a cooling rack and cool muffins completely.
Makes 12 standard size muffins
I come from a long line of bread eaters. We’re a hearty group and we can make a meal out of bread. Meat, fish and vegetables are nice, but really we’re quite satisfied with just bread. Maybe it’s my Eastern European ancestry that makes me appreciate what one can do with a little bit of yeast and some flour. You see, we’re simple folk. I love a loaf fresh out of the oven, slathered in butter or with a dollop of marmalade. Pita, naan, ciabatta or tortillas, call it what you will, it’s all good to me. I think it’s funny, all these people nowadays cutting bread out of their diet, well that’s just plain crazy to me.
I know some people are intimidated when they see yeast in a recipe. One of my favorite books, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” has taken the trauma out of bread making. If you have the slightest interest in making your own bread, and trust me you should, then I highly recommend this book to you.
One of the best recipes in the book is their chocolate brioche. It’s a rich, eggy bread, golden on the outside with bittersweet chocolate ganache swirled on the inside. It was today’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nothing wrong with that, right?
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for greasing the pan
- 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Egg wash, (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
- You can make this dough using a spoon, a large food processor or an electric mixer. I made it in the bowl of my electric mixer.
- Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in the bowl.
- Using the dough hook, mix in the flour until it’s all incorporated.
- When all the flour has been incorporated, cover the bowl, (not airtight) and allow it to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. After the initial rise, chill the dough as it will be easier to work with. This amount of dough will make four -1 pound loaves, so keep the dough refrigerated in a lidded container and use over the next five days.
- 1/4 pound good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- granulated sugar for sprinkling on top
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave in 15 second increments until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until incorporated.
- In another little bowl, stir the cocoa powder and the corn syrup together and mix until smooth. Add to the chocolate mixture.
- Lightly butter a 9 x 4 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and with a serrated knife, cut off a one-pound piece. I use my digital scale to weigh it. Dust that piece with more flour and shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the ball into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle, dusting with flour as needed.
- Spread 1/2 cup of the ganache over the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Starting at the short end, roll up the dough and seal the bare edges.
- Tuck the loose ends underneath, elongate the dough into an oval and place it into your loaf pan.
- Let the dough rest for 1 1/2 hours in a draft-free spot.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, paint the top crust with the egg white and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.
- Bake the brioche for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sugar is caramelized.
- Remove from the pan and cool slightly. Reheat the remaining ganache, then drizzle it over the top of the loaf.
For me there is nothing more comforting or homier than fresh-baked bread. I love the way it makes the house smell as it’s baking, but more than that, I can’t wait to slather butter on hot, crispy bread right out of the oven.
This rustic rye bread is one of my all-time favorites. A couple thick slices of this bread with hot corned beef, cole slaw and spicy mustard, and it’s better than any deli I’ve been to.
I don’t know why more folks don’t bake their own bread. It’s really very easy, and not all that time consuming. Once you start making your own bread and you taste the difference between homemade and commercial bread, I guarantee you won’t buy store bought bread again. Really.
Rustic Rye Bread
From Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
- 3 cups water (105-110 degrees F)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 cup rye flour
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- cornmeal for sprinkling
- cornstarch for cornstarch wash
- Mix the yeast, salt and caraway seeds with the water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients just until everything is incorporated. Scrape the bowl down and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest in a draft-free spot for 2 hours. After the dough has risen, you can use it immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Dust your hands with flour and cut off 1/4 portion of the dough (about 1 lb.) Dust the piece with flour and shape it into a ball, or you can elongate the ball into an oval shape if you choose. Allow it to rest and rise on a cornmeal covered surface such as a pizza peel if you will be using a pizza stone. I highly recommend using the pizza stone as it gives the bread a lovely, crispy crust. Or you can let it rest on a cornmeal covered baking sheet for 40 minutes.
- After the dough has rested for 40 minutes, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with the stone in the oven and an empty broiler try on the rack underneath the one you are baking on.
- Using a serrated knife, slash 3 diagonal cuts across the top of the loaf. Make the cornstarch wash by combining 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch with a small amount of water in a small microwaveable bowl to form a paste. Add 1/2 cup of water and whisk. Place in the microwave for about 60 seconds. Using a pastry brush, paint the top of the loaf lightly with the cornstarch wash and then sprinkle on some caraway seeds.
- You can bake the loaf on the cornmeal covered baking sheet, or you can slide the loaf directly onto the heated pizza stone. After putting the bread in the oven, pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler try below and quickly close the door. Bake for 30 minutes until crust is a deep, golden brown. I use a digital thermometer to check that the inside internal temperature of the bread is at least 195 degrees F. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
Makes 4 – 1 pound rye breads
The first thing I did when I got off the plane on my most recent trip to Philadelphia, was high-tail it to the soft pretzel vendor right there in the airport. My husband Neil and I hadn’t eaten on the cross-country flight, and the two of us had been contemplating biting into a soft, chewy Philly pretzel. We were not disappointed.
It’s funny how different cities are known for certain foods. New Orleans is known for muffulettas, Chicago made famous the deep-dish pizza, and New York is credited with inventing the egg cream. And Philadelphia, well Philadelphia is not just known for its cheesesteaks and hoagies, but also for the soft pretzel. (Nothing low-calorie comes out of Philly.) It’s tradition in Philadelphia to eat your pretzel with mustard, so that’s how I do it.
When I returned to Los Angeles, I was still having pretzel cravings. So, I decided to pull out one of my favorite recipes and make the family a batch of homemade pretzels. They were not disappointed.
From Cooking Light , October 2005
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
- 3 cups plus 1/4 cup all purpose flour – divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- cooking spray
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- cornmeal for sprinkling
- 1 large egg
- kosher salt
Let’s face it, when you get to be a certain age you can’t always eat everything and anything you want. In my younger days I could live for a week on nothing but chocolate chip cookies. I really could. Those days are over, and that’s why I can only make this particular cake once every couple of months, because I’ve been known to eat the entire thing. Banana, chocolate and pecans is my all-time favorite flavor combination.
This is a dense, moist cake and it’s full of banana flavor. Just make sure you use overly ripe bananas. Also, I use the mini-chips because the regular sized chocolate chips will overwhelm the banana, and it’s the banana that’s the star of this cake. And then, I love the added crunch the toasted pecans add to the cake. For me, this is the ultimate in comfort food.
Adapted from Silver Palate Cookbook
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted, coarsely chopped pecans
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet morsels
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 in loaf pan.
2. In bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one a time until incorporated.
3. Sift all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt together, stir in whole wheat flour and add to creamed mixture, mixing well.
4. Fold in mashed bananas, vanilla, nuts and chips.
5. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then place on cooling rack.
Makes 1 loaf