I love to bake, however, I don’t do it nearly often enough. Somehow days get away from me, or I don’t have any butter at room temp, or am missing an ingredient, or simply because I can’t always seem to fit it in. However, the first few days of this week I did quite a bit of baking. Probably because I was about to start what would be 11 straight days of work and when I’m gone, I like my kids to have a little something warm, and cozy, and homemade to remind them of me. So this week, I baked. First, I’ve been in a Fall mood for days now so I made a pumpkin bread. I make a lot of banana bread (as talked about in this post), but when Fall comes I like to switch it up and do pumpkin bread as well. I use a recipe from an old issue of Bon Appetit magazine and it’s divine. But then, then, I baked something chocolate! I was actually going to make Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (a family favorite) but my new Barefoot Contessa Foolproof cookbook was lying open on the table to a recipe titled “Chocolate and Peanut Butter Globs” (yes, Globs) and my daughter saw that, and man oh man, that was it. She begged and pleaded (not very much, mind you, because I too had spied the recipe and was already thinking of changing the aforementioned plan), and I acquiesced. They were, in my husband’s words, ridiculous. They really were. Gooey, chocolate-y, with just a touch of peanut butter in the background and a little bit of flour to hold them together. They are perfect with an afternoon iced coffee, or as I prefer, with an ice cold glass of milk.
I frequently (translation: almost always) have ripe to overripe bananas sitting on my counter. I don’t know if it’s me, but somehow my bananas seem to go from green to brown with no actual “yellow” stage in between! Because of that, I make a lot of banana bread. Almost every week, I am mashing up some bananas and looking for something to do with them. I like to mix it up a bit, just so the kids don’t get too sick of one recipe. Right now I vary between a classic Banana Bread that is a Martha Stewart recipe, a very decadent Double Chocolate Banana Bread from Smitten Kitchen, a Cinnamon Banana Bread adapted from an old Bon Appetit recipe, a Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookie (also from Martha), and now this banana muffin. This muffin is lighter and fluffier than a bread, and it has granola on top for some added crunch. This time I added chocolate chips (request from my daughter) but usually I don’t. It was originally a Barefoot Contessa recipe but I’ve changed it up a bit for our tastes (I took out the banana chips as they are just too sweet/fake for us and the coconut as no one here really likes it). I also took the sugar down pretty significantly, I think for the better.
It’s always a good morning when there is granola involved, don’t you think? I’ve been wanting to share my granola recipe for awhile. It’s something I tweaked and perfected and have been making for a few years now. I usually make it during the holidays and give it as gifts and many of those friends have asked me to share the recipe. I am a true granola fanatic. I eat it almost everyday and bought it for many years before I finally decided to try making it. Much to my surprise, it was super easy and considering how expensive quality store granola is, I’m glad I switched. The great thing about it is how versatile it is. For instance, I use almonds and pecans for my nuts, but if you prefer peanuts and walnuts, use those. Or you could do cashews, or pistachios. I sometimes add figs and dried cherries, but you don’t have to. Or you could add raisins and apricots… you get the picture. Tailor it to your own taste. I started with one recipe a few years back and cut the oil and sugars in half and added the spices as the original didn’t have any at all, nor any salt. But if you want it sweeter or even less sweet, change that too. I usually eat it with greek yogurt with a little honey and fruit for breakfast, but it’s equally good with a bowl of milk. And of course, eaten out of hand it can’t be beat. Makes a great late night snack too!