Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Baby Steps Back Into My Kitchen (with dessert...or, if you're me and the kids aren't looking, breakfast)

One of the things that I am challenged by, and that I want to be more intentional about (hear that good are, alone, are not enough!) is preparing home cooked meals for my family.  I first posted about this last summer - before I actually shared my blog with anyone that I know - and there hasn't been tremendous progress since then.  But because I'm willing to share and celebrate little successes where I have them (after all, I am willing to shame myself publicly by showing you my unorganized closets), I thought that I would post about something I recently baked for the first time.  Okay, so it isn't exactly a wholesome meal, but I'd like to think of this as a healthier version of brownies.

My friend Ray over at madeofglass shared a delicious recipe for Dark Chocolate Chip Brownie Bottom Banana Bread and I've had it tucked away for quite some time in my recipe file to try out.  Not wanting to waste the bananas that were starting to get a bit overripe on my counter last week, I decided that this was the perfect time to give it a go.  This recipe yielded me three full sized loafs and they were absolutely delicious...this is definitely going to make a reappearance in my kitchen.  The only changes that I made to Ray's recipe were to use neufchatel instead of cream cheese (about 1/3 less fat) and I used two 8x8 brownie mixes (my "go to" mix is made by Ghirardelli).

By the time I realized that the pictures I took of this chocolate yumminess were on the blurry side, it was long gone.  Not the best picture, but trust me when I say that it was delicious!

Update - with Ray's permission, here is the recipe itself (though please feel free to click on through to his blog for some background about the origins of this yummy treat).  Also, he has thrown down the baking gauntlet and challenged me with this recipe...stayed tuned!

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 8oz pack of cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (1 1/4lbs of unpeeled bananas, about 4 medium)
1 cup Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 13×9 package of brownie mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
(these last three are per ingredients needed on back of brownie box)
Set your oven at 350 (but I’ve found better results at ~335-340. This is a pretty dense mix, so cooking it a tad more slowly tends to let the middle bake without burning the edges.)
BEAT butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
COMBINE flour and next three ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in bananas, chips and vanilla. 
MIX brownie mix, eggs, water, and oil according to directions on box. 
SPOON brownie mix into bottom of 2 greased and floured 8×4 loaf pans.
SPOON carefully (as banana mix is often denser than the brownie mix) the banana mix on top of the brownie base.
BAKE at 350 for about an hour or until long wooden pick inserted into center come out clean. You’ll want to check this at about 30 and 45 mins, shielding the top with tin foil to prevent browning. If you’re using mini-loaf pans, they’ll be done at about 34 mins. 
Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool another 30 before slicing.
NOTES: you may have a tad too much banana mixture for just two pans. Or not. I typically do this recipe split between one 8×4 and three mini-loaf pans (‘cuz I like to share). I’m considering using two 8×8 brownie mixes the next time around and spreading that across three full sized loaf pans.

Happy baking, friends!

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity."  ~Voltaire

1 comment:

  1. That looks delicious...and easily veganized too...