Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cranberry Banana Bread and the First Snow Fall in Fall 2014

I baked for fun today so that was probably why I woke up at 5 a.m. We are also trying to clean out the freezer so we are eating leftovers from who knows when and hence the baking. Brad loves bananas especially in the summer with his bike racing. Even when I raced, I would crack on bananas. The bananas would ripen quickly or it would be too warm to eat them. I bought a bunch of bananas almost every week. I cracked this summer and it wasn't even a hot one. So every couple of weeks I had to throw bananas into the freezer. The count is 15 bananas! I baked a Caramel Banana Bread last night and baked a bunch of Cranberry Banana Muffins and Bread.

Since this was the first time making the recipes, we cut into the breads and muffins. And we actually finished off one of the caramel breads from yesterday. Thank goodness the recipe made two breads. Today's Cranberry Banana bread only made one loaf but there was a lot of fresh cranberries and sugar water left over so I could not let it go to waste. I doubled the recipe based on how many cranberries were floating in the sugar water and I made muffins. Usually when one bakes a banana bread of some kind, the temperature should be 350 F and baked for 50 to an hour long. When baking muffins, turn the heat up to 375 or 400 F and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

I tried to follow the recipe but I messed up the first part when I boiled the fresh cranberries. It called for one cup of water and I used two by mistake. At that point I altered the recipe by adding vanilla extract. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. Except for the glaze. I did not have Grand Marnier so I used rum. And it did not quite turn out to be a glaze because I did not use all the sugar it called for. Then I wasn't sure if I wanted to use the "glaze" because it was very rummy. But my taste tester liked it so I used it on the bread and some of the muffins. I figured the muffins could be frozen and the glaze would add some moisture to them when we would pull them out of the freezer months from now. Newman! I forgot we were trying to empty out the freezer.

I don't like to let anything go to waste so I am sipping the cranberry sugar rum "glaze". Mmmm. Interesting. I might need to add one more tablespoon of rum and an ice cube. Although, it is nice at room temperature as I watch the snow fall. It was great to hang out in my baking pjs all day except for our little excursion to support the oldest farmers market in the U.S. this morning.

We did not need anything; I just love the idea of having a farmers market two miles from my house. We bought eggs, purple Brussels sprouts and carrots. The purple sprouts were planted in July and the Amish farmer told Barr's that it would be purple cabbage!! I trimmed the stalk and had a few raw purple, Brussels sprouts and they were tasty. I cannot wait to make dinner as we are having Carr's crab cakes, jasmine rice with cumin seeds cooked in chicken broth and the purple Brussels sprouts.

Ack! I have one more item to bake - the Apple Walnut Crumb Pie. I made the crust this morning and tried blending the vanilla wafers and walnuts together in the blender and that did not go well. Ober said I should be using the food processor which I forgot we had. And it doesn't work well either, so I just used the blender as I dirtied it already. Although, I had to separate the wafers and walnuts and ground the nuts in my second coffee grinder. I just thought I could throw them all in my vintage, Osterizer blender.

All this baking was killing my left, rotator cuff so I started mixing with my non-dominant, right arm. Right, I do not own a KitchenAid. I fantasize about owning one but we don't have a place to put it and I don't bake that often to spend that kind of money. Thank goodness I have all day to bake because it took me forever to mix with my non-dominant arm and I made a mess at the same time. Awesome! Flour, bananas and cranberry juice everywhere.