Friday, December 10, 2010

ScrumDIDDLYumptious - Part I

Yes.  I'll say it.  These treats are totally worthy of adjectives like scrumDIDDLYumptious or fanFREAKIN'tastic or any other word that might have an added descriptor stuck in the middle to let you know they're dawg gawn good.

Now, there are a few things that prompt me to make sweets:
One -  I have a gathering or party that I need to contribute to
Two - I get an idea for something that I think would be the bomb
Or Three - I have something in my house that is either A) going to go bad or B) is unusual for me to have on hand and therefore brings me back to two, an idea I want to test.

These baked goods were inspired by both Two and Three - I had three brown bananas (Part I) and a box full of special dark, hot cocoa mix (Part II).

The bananas, well, that was a no brainer.  "I'll just make Mom's Banana Bread," I thought.  But, in one fatefully glorious accidental move, instead of adding 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, I added 1/2 tablespoon of allspice.  I knew as soon as I dumped the seasoning that I had made a mistake.  The particularly potent scent of allspice drifted up from the mixing bowl… where my eyes had failed me in my hurried attempt to pull out all the ingredients, my nose now testified to my folly.

There was, however, no going back.

This was just going to have to become a Banana Spice Cake.  In addition to the allspice, I added half a tablespoon of nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.  The result was a wonderfully aromatic, spicy sensation.  Just imagine... spice cake and banana bread combined!

Shopping List:
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1/2 c. clover honey
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
3 well ripened bananas
4 Tbl. milk alternative (use to make buttermilk)

From the Pantry:
4 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. white distilled vinegar or lemon juice (use to make buttermilk)
1/2 tbl. allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

mixing bowls
electric mixer
9' x 13' baking dish

Preparation:  Combine milk and vinegar (or lemon juice) to create buttermilk and let stand while you prep other ingredients.  With an electric mixer combine sugar, shortening, honey, applesauce and three well ripened bananas until mostly smooth (you may still have a few chunks of banana but nobodies gonna be mad about that).  Combine flour, baking powder, spices, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add baking soda to buttermilk.  Alternately add buttermilk and dry ingredients to wet ingredients until all are blended well.  Add vanilla extract.  Mix well and pour into 9' x 13' baking dish.  Cook at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until toothpick tested in middle comes out clean.

(Yes.  That is the center piece, with the little hole there where the toothpick pronounced the completion of my bread. And doesn't it just seem that just as with the central cinnamon roll,  when it comes to cookies and cakes, the center piece is always the most coveted… it seems to beckon us, like a siren seducing sailors, calling to us in a voice so sweet that sings, "I am the gooiest, yummiest, most indulgent of all the pieces."  Children have no queries making their piece preferences known.  "I want the middle," or "Give me a side piece."  It seems that it's only once we've grown older that we somehow restrain that child like impulse to call the center piece like we would call the "shot gun" seat.  Go with you're inner child on this one.  Better yet, make your own dish and don't even wait to make your way to the center.  Go right for it, first thing.  Ah the joys of baking… ummm…)

Check back for Part II for how I make use of that box of special dark, hot cocoa mix.


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