Wednesday, April 9, 2014

In the Kitchen With Chris: Raspberry Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

It's been...a week.

I've been working quite a bit, I've got a trip to San Francisco quickly approaching, I seriously overestimated the number of children I'd be able to handle on The Sims, and my laundry pile had grown so high that I'm pretty sure I saw snow on one of the peaks.


I got home Friday after work and found strange smelling brown water literally pouring in all over my belongings. I'd spent the entire day at work looking forward to an entire evening of tea, slippers, and a trashy novel. Instead I got to spend an hour hunting down every drip in my apartment and moving furniture to make room for anything bigger than a cereal bowl that could hold water.

My landlord showed up and drilled holes in the ceiling tiles to relieve some of the pressure, but there was nothing more he could really do until the snow was melted and it was warm enough to get up to the roof and do some patching.

So my apartment has looked like this all week...

It's not great.

On top of that, in my frantic attempt to save my stuff, the random placement of my furniture created the world's most perfect TV marathon nest.

Try not watching three hours of Gilmore Girls...and then another three hours of Gilmore Girls when you've got this little hidey hole, a fridge full of Diet Coke, and a talent for ignoring responsibilities.

So, as per usual, I put off getting my shit together enough to start this week's blog post until Tuesday night when I decided that it was time that I get back into the kitchen. I'd like to say that I hunted for the perfect recipe that would challenge me and really teach me something new, but what actually happened was I had a bunch of rotting bananas that wouldn't fit in the trash, which I was not interested in taking out.

Banana bread it is!

Now no one is going to read a blog post about making plain old banana bread. It's like, what's he going to do next week? "Chris Crosses the Street by Himself," or "Chris Learns to Tie His Shoes."

Actually, both of those things were kind of a struggle for me growing up.

One of my coworkers recommended a recipe for Raspberry Dark Chocolate Banana Bread that she'd found on Pinterest though, and it sounded delicious. The recipe came from the blog Recipe Boy (or you can find it on my Pinterest board here).

I mean, really.

When I saw that this recipe was created by a "boy" I was immediately interested in making him my husband. I'd worked up this whole bit where I was going to proclaim my love for the man that created this magical combination of some of my favorite foods in a private message on his blog and share the awkwardness of whatever response was received.

It never occurred to me that he wasn't calling himself "Recipe Boy" like I call myself a "Small Town Boy" in my dating profiles. He's like actually a boy. 12 years old.

So now, not only did I almost have to register as a sexual predator, but I was also feeling pretty ashamed that a 12 year old boy is inventing actual recipes while I recently patted myself on the back for thinking of crumbling the last of my Cheez-its on a bowl of shells and cheese.

I started cooking after work. I had a few hours before I was supposed to be over at a friend's house, but the recipe said it would be a 15 minute prep time and a 50 minute cook time. 

Plenty of time.

The recipe calls for:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup halved raspberries, tossed in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

I ran into problems almost immediately. To being, you mix your flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl, and all of my mixing bowls were currently filled with gross roof water. A fact that I probably should have thought about before piling all this stuff on my counter. 

After cleaning (and re-cleaning) the bowls I'd need, I got back on track by mixing the sugar, butter, and eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. I was supposed to just do the sugar and butter, and then add the eggs in one at a time once the initial mixture was smooth, but I didn't, and I'm not sure that it made a difference. 

From there I slowly added the banana and yogurt, beating that until it was well blended. The recipe then calls to slowly add the flour, baking soda, and salt mixture "just until moist," and it warns against over mixing it. I switched to a wooden spoon instead of the electric mixer for fear that I'd beat the batter to death.

Then I added the raspberries and chocolate chips in, and spooned the mixture in to a greased 9" x 5" loaf pan and sprinkled some extra raspberries and chocolate chips on top.

How pretty does this look?!
Your oven should be preheated to 350 at this point. You should have done earlier, but if you're like me, you didn't, so go ahead and pour a glass of wine while you wait. 

The directions state that this should bake for 50 minutes, but after 50 minutes, I pulled it out, and it was still straight up batter in the middle. So I gave it ten more minutes.

And then ten more minutes.

And then ten more minutes.

And this went on for while.

After over an hour and a half of bake time, and a sloppily texted message to my friend letting him know that not only was I late, but  was going to need to walk over, I was finished.

It was...doughy...but still good!

I'm sure someone with a real grown up oven could pull this off beautifully. In fact, I encourage you all to try it and then bring it to me, because if I'm enjoying my sub par version this much, I can only imagine what the real deal will taste like!

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