Thursday, March 29, 2007

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip!

I have been wanting to find a cookie that had banana in it that had the texture of a cookie and not banana bread. Once I made banana bread cookies and they were just that--banana bread in the shape of a little cookie mound. It was sort of like how pumpkin cookies are like pumpkin bread. I stumbled across this recipe and had to try it, partly because I had one rotting banana on my counter and I can't just throw away prime baking ingredients.

Olivia was a little skeptical because as a great lover of chocolate chip cookies she was not sure how banana would figure into the mix. "Bananas and oatmeal and chocolate chips don't make a cookie," she said. When she tried the dough, she changed her mind and proclaimed that they were her favorite. I liked the texture--chewy, but only slightly cakey. More dense than banana bread because of the oats. I thought there were almost too many chocolate chips though.

Banana Oatmeal Cookie

1c Flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2T very soft butter

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1/4 c mashed banana

1 egg

1tsp vanilla

1 1/2 c oats (old fashioned or quick)

1 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in egg and banana followed by vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

Drop by Tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake 11-14 min. at 350 degrees until lighly browned. Makes 2 doz.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A New Talent

I can't believe I made this!! I have been on a quest to make good bread. I don't know why, but I have always had the desire to be able to bake bread, rolls, any yeast type of bread, and I have failed miserably numerous times. Somehow they are always dense and resemble rocks more than bread. Over the past couple of months I have found success. I had a friend who gave me a few tips and it took some practice. When I finally had success at dinner rolls I was so excited until I took a bite. It was everything a dinner roll should be; light, slightly sweet, a little moist and a hint of butter flavor...but something was missing...could it be the SALT?!! They were ruined because I had forgotten to put in 1 tsp of salt. It made all the difference. The very next day I was back at work kneading and dusting with flour and they turned out perfect! Joey gave me a big hug and gasped "Thank you!" I now feel like an official baker. I even do it all by hand. No mixer--just me, a bowl, and a wooden spoon. So now I am venturing beyond dinner rolls and I made French Bread and alas, another success. (On the first try too.) I feel like I am getting the hang of this bread thing.

Here is the recipe from

Fabulous French Loaves
2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water
1 T white sugar
2 c water
5-6 cups bread flour
1 T salt
1 T vegatable oil
2 T cornmeal
1 egg white, beaten
In a small bowl sprinkle sugar and yeast into warm water. Let stand for about 10 min. until foamy.
In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, 2 c water, 3 c of the flour, salt sugar, and vegetable oil;stir well to combine. Make sure there are no lumps. Stir in remaining flour 1/2 c at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lighly oil a large bowl and place dough into bowl and turn once to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let ride for 1 hour or until doubled.
Divide the dough in half. Roll each into a 9x15 rectangle. Roll up jelly roll style. Seal edges and place seam side down on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Slash 3 times. Brush with egg whites. COver and rise for 30 min.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 35 min or until golden brown.
Tip:Cor a crispy crust place a small bread pan full of boiling water on the bottom rack in the oven. It will create steam that gives this bread crust a classic crisp.