My neighbor Julie and I have a semi-regular coffee hour, though it’s become increasingly less regular lately. I bring cookies or brownies if I have them on hand, and if there is nothing else there are almost always overripe bananas on one of our counters or in one of our freezers. (I’ve been known to buy extra bananas so that they will get overripe and I’ll have them to bake with. She’s been known to find free ones at the co-op. Either way, overripe bananas are good to have on hand.)
Despite the calendar saying summer, it’s been cool and rainy here for too many days. I find myself drinking more coffee than I should just for warmth and wanting sweet comfort foods. Yesterday I made banana bread with chocolate chips. I have three banana breads that I really like:
- my friend Kate’s greatgrandmother-in-law’s recipe that toasts up nicely and is great with peanut butter
- Molly Wizenberg’s banana bread with chocolate and crystallized ginger from her Homemade Life (though in looking on her blog for the recipe to link to I found this, which I think I’ll have to try)
- Julie’s recipe, which is what I decided to make.
I like banana bread as a bread, but this makes great muffins too, which need only 20 minutes of bake time (a plus in summer heat if you happen to get any of that or when you need coffee hour to start now! not in an hour). If you’re too lazy to spoon out muffins, but don’t want to wait an hour, pour the batter into a cake pan. It’s pretty versatile.
Coffee Hour Banana Bread
- 3/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. butter
- 2 eggs
- 1+ c. mashed ripe bananas (about 4 small–medium bananas)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. white flour
- 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease loaf pan (or muffin tins or cake pan).
Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add bananas and vanilla and mix well. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl (I admit, I’m lazy and often don’t do this.) Add dry ingredients to the banana mixture and mix until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake loaf for about an hour, muffins for about 20 minutes, and cake for about 30 minutes. Top should be golden and a tooth pick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few crumbs but no goopiness. Cool as long as you can stand it before serving.
B. is a pie guy, so for his birthday he gets a pie instead of a cake. Last year, he asked for a raspberry pie, but since his birthday comes at the very beginning of raspberry season (this year when everything is early being an exception), I suggested it might be hard (read, expensive) to come by that many raspberries. “How about raspberry rhubarb?” he suggested.
He bought a pint of raspberries from a local farm. I chopped a bunch of stalks or rhubarb from our garden and put it together as I would have a straight-up rhubarb pie. And it was good.
It’s a twist on an old classic, his new favorite, and likely a birthday tradition.
Raspberry Rhubarb Pie
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. shortening
1/4 c. butter (chilled and cut into small pieces)
6–7 Tbsp. cold water
1/2 c. crushed corn flakes or Total
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening and butter until it forms small balls the size of peas. Gently blend in water, one table spoon at a time, with a fork until the dough holds together.
- Divide dough into two roughly equal parts. On a floured counter, roll out the dough for the bottom crust. Arrange in a 9-inch pie pan.
- Cover the crust with the crushed cereal.
- Set the pie pan and remaining dough aside and move on to the filling.
1 pint red raspberries
4 cups chopped rhubarb
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cold water
- Gently mix together the raspberries and rhubarb and put in the prepared pie pan.
- Mix the sugar, egg, and water in a medium bowl, and pour over the fruit.
- Roll out the remaining crust and cut into 1-inch strips. Weave the strips into a lattice crust.
- Put the pie pan on a cookie sheet to catch drips.
- Put the pie into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower heat to 350°F and bake for 40–50 minutes longer. (You can use frozen raspberries or rhubarb, but it will take longer to cook. Keep baking until the filling starts to bubble a little.)
The inspiration may have come from reading about tea sandwiches just before I went to the fridge. I really went to get strawberries to cut up for strawberry shortcake for dessert. When I moved them I saw the tiny container of leftover cream cheese. I pulled it out to throw away since I don’t have any bagels. Then I saw the banana bread.
Toast a slice of banana bread (in a toaster oven, not a regular toaster).
Spread with cream cheese.
Top with slices of fresh strawberries.
It works without the strawberries too, but since they are in season, why not have them.
If you were still just down the road, it’s a snack we would enjoyed afternoons with tea when I wandered over to see if you were home because K. and I just needed to get out of the house. It would also make a good, quick breakfast with coffee some morning when we’ve stayed up too late drinking wine after the kids go to bed.
I suspect I’ll be baking banana bread again soon.