Baking requires something of you. Yeah sure, it's soothing, it's not difficult, it's rewarding, for some it's demeaning but it's nothing if not demanding. You can't serve two masters while you are baking unless you are willing to risk disaster. There are those times when all the best laid plans and the most intense focus still don't yield something up to expectation. Today was one of those days.
I intended to be showing you pictures of pumpkin bread today because it's been on my mind for a long time. I've been delving into my new cookbook to get some further inspiration and I was seriously ready to go. I'd cleared my time. I'd prepared the squash ahead of time - roasted and mashed. My baking tin was prepped. The ingredients were ready. This was going to be the thing. The thing that my eyes and my taste buds have been waiting for. I started. Sure, I was adapting things but nothing drastic. The muffin recipe was being adapted into a loaf recipe. The changes were right there on the page. Everything was primed to be perfect...
And then I turned on that Bollywood movie I'd started the day before.
Oh it was fantastic. It was everything we've all come to expect from our favourite Bollywood offerings. Extremely well built male whose shirt seems ready to slip off at the slightest breeze or splash of water. Beautiful, innocent and yet absolutely alluring woman with straight dark hair and enticing eyes. They dance. There are costume changes. Though they are drawn to each other there is so much keeping them apart. Their love is sacred. Through the many costume changes and flirtatious glances there's a love story that takes on religious zeal and often spans decades. It's wonderful, magical, epic and mythical. And it's not the best thing to have running when you are trying a new recipes that requires adapting and tweaking. My bread went into the oven and the timer was set. The timer went off and I even gave it more time. I even used a cake tester to check that it was done but when I came back to the loaf about 10 minutes later to slice it and take some pictures I found that it had sunk quite drastically. 'I'm sure it's fine' I think getting distracted that once again some beautiful abs and biceps have escaped from the shirt they were hidden under on my tv screen. I slice my loaf and immediately realize that what I expected to be a perfectly cooled loaf is really cooled pudding. Complete goo. It seems that the giggling and dancing, wire fighting (yes - there was that too), garden walks and attempted kidnapping all helped me completely forget that muffin baking time and loaf baking time might be a tad different from each other.
Fortunately one of the positive side effects of such a pleasant distraction is that you bounce back quite quickly. I was truly none the worse for wear. 'Oh well, these things happen' I say to myself. Off it went to compost and out came the bananas. Whole wheat flour and some streusel, a few chocolate chips and the universe was once again in balance... and the happy couple were hugging finally after two hours on screen and 7 movie years of waiting for each other. Hugging.
I've not given up on my pumpkin bread. I've still got the ideal in my head. It's going to look just so and taste wonderful. The crumb will be perfect and the topping will be the icing on the cake so to speak. It just won't be happening today.
Red Fife Banana Muffins adapted from 'Baking Bites'
8 - 10 muffins
1 1/2 cup red fife or whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 or 3 ripe bananas (about 1 - 1 1/4 cups), peeled and mashed
3 tbsp melted butter
Toppings or additions:
Few handfuls of chocolate chips (additions)
Streusel (topping) - see recipe below
chopped nuts (addition or topping or both)
chopped candied nuts (topping I think)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a muffin tin with paper or silicon liners and set aside.
Combine the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. Mix until incorporated and set aside.
Combine the milk, egg and brown sugar together. Mix well. Add in the mashed banana and mix again. Add in the melted butter and mix well.
Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Mix only until the flour is completely mixed in. Add any additions that you would like ... or none at all.
Fill the muffin cups so that the filling just reaches the top. Sprinkle with nuts or streusel if you would like.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin.
Streusel - adapted from 'Good to the Grain'
1/8 cup whole wheat or red fife flour
1/8 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
dash of salt and cinnamon
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
Combine all ingredients and work it with your fingers, pinching gently until the butter mixes to form a crumbly texture.
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- Wanda Thorne
- St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
My Favourite Cookbooks
- Wanda Thorne
- bok choy
- coconut milk
- cream cheese
- goat cheese
- green peas
- ice cream
- main course
- maple syrup
- peanut butter
- poppy seeds
- quick bread
- root vegetable
- side dish
- smoked salmon
- sour cream
- split peas
- stir fry
- sustainable living
- vanilla bean
- white chocolate