I had a bunch of bananas who had seen better days and were just begging to be made into bread. I didn't have any eggs so I googled "vegan banana bread" and found this recipe from a site called "Cookie Madness." I didn't make a truly vegan bread because I used half & half instead of the soy milk that was called for and butter for the pan, but was so happy with my results! The texture was nice and it was very yummy. I would definitely make this bread again. It is a very simple bread with no added nuts or chips, but I don't think it needs anything more. I adjusted to recipe based on what I had at home, here is the recipe exactly how I made it:
adapted from cookie madness
1/4 cup half & half
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 ripe bananas
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Butter your loaf pan generously (mine was 9x5), lay a sheet of parchment on the bottom and butter that as well.
- Add vinegar to the half & half and let sit.
- Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, beat together oils and sugars and add in bananas, mashing them with a pastry blender (or a potato masher would work too. You can use a mixer if you prefer, I just like to see banana chunks in mine).
- Add vinegar/half & half mixture to it and stir well.
- Add half of the flour mixture and once that's incorporated add the rest of the flour until it is well mixed, try not to over-stir.
- Bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a rack and enjoy!
If I could improve in one area right now, it would be in piping. I am just not very good at it. So naturally, my favorite cookie style is either plain or one of these swirly ones because the colors are supposed to mix! And sanding sugar is also a nice covering.
These flowers are also another another style to practice. I recently bought some luster dust and experimented with brushing some shiny-ness onto them. I am not sure if I like the silver color though, I think I might buy a few more shades of dust. It is a nice little addition though. I need to find more ways to use the stuff.
Every Saturday there is a farmers market here in old town Orange. I love going by and looking for pretty produce, especially heirloom tomatoes. They are so colorful! Expensive too, that's why I look for mini ones so it doesn't cost me a fortune.
If you are into baking blogs at all, I'm sure you know this cake is all the rage now a days. Just do a google search for "ruffle cake" and many cakes just like this one will pop up. I just had to try my hand at it though because It's just so dang pretty!
As far as I know, this was a Martha Stewart design and it can be found at her site here. Other blogs I have seen this on were i am baker and at sweetapolita.com and all over the Sweet & Saucy Shop blog. You can even see a youtube tutorial from the Sweet & Saucy Shop here.
If you are a baker you should try this out, it's simple and girly. I made this one for a bridal shower. In case you can't tell, the thing on top is a little candle in the shape of a pink and purple castle. I found it at the kids party section of Target but I thought, brides want to feel like a princess on their special day, don't they?
Here I have them all packaged and ready to go. This was a good learning experience and I am happy for the chance to have made such a large order. Here are some things I learned:
1. Always bake extra cookies. In case some of them come out a little deformed or in case I get distracted while cookies are in the oven and some come out a little too toasty.
2. When working with cold dough, make sure it has had time to thaw before rolling. I never usually chill my dough but I did this time so I would be able to spread the work out over the week. The day after I baked I felt like I was beat up! My arms were sore and my hands hurt for days from pressing down on the rolling pin.
3. Never, NEVER cover cookies with wax paper. Even if they look dry, they night not be. I always hate leaving cookies out to dry overnight because I feel like there should be some covering. I had made half of them in the afternoon and when the time came to sleep I though, they look dry, I'll just cover them overnight. The next morning the paper had dried on in spots on at least half of my cookies, peeling off the royal icing when I removed it. It was a sad day. Luckily, my boss said they still looked fine and I didn't need to remake them.
4. I should invest in re-usable piping bags. I went through so many!
5. Make sure the icing is the right consistency before loading it into a bag. I filled up 4 bags, began piping and realized it was too stiff and had to empty out all 4 bags to fix it. It was a total waste of time.
6. If there are extra cookies and icing, make more of the cookies you are supposed to make instead of trying out other stuff like I did here. This is sorta like #1. It would have been nice to have made some extras so I could pick out any if I didn't like them.
Do you have any good tips to share from past baking experiences? Leave me a comment!