Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread

This banana bread is about the only thing I've baked in the last few weeks.  Well not "about".  It is the only thing I've baked in the past few weeks.  The focus around here seems to have shifted a bit to all things house related.

Since we last spoke, we've purchased a lot up the street (we don't like to get too far from home) for our new house and have found an architect that I'm sooooo hoping we can afford!  He and I have spoken on the phone and texted back a forth and I really like his vibe.......I'm just hoping hubs wallet feels the same way!!  We've also had one (yes, ONE) showing of our current house.  Our realtor said that the couple practically vomited rainbows while they were here.....loved the house, wouldn't have to change a thing, have always wanted to live on this street, blah, blah, blah.  SHOW ME THE MONEY!  I'll keep you posted but don't hold your breath.

In a completely unrelated topic, this week starts the best two weeks in sports.  Have you filled out your brackets?  Mine are all filled out and people are dying to know!  So here's the scoop.  Since the trend among the experts seems to be "going chalk" (who the eff makes up these terms?) that's mostly the route I went also.  Here are my first round (technically the second round but feeder games don't count in my world) exceptions.....

South Region
UConn over Iowa State (not a huge upsent....it's a 9 over an 8)
VCU over Witchita State

East Region
West Virginia over Gonzaga

Ohio over Michigan (suck it Wolverines)

My final four consists of Kentucky, Syracuse (I really wanted to pick my beloved Buckeyes, but as my dad said..."Sully really needs to pick up his game.") Kansas, and Michigan State.  I've got Michigan State beating Syracuse in the final.  I know everyone thinks this is Kentucky's year, but let's face it.....Calipari is a cheater and can't win the big one.  Plus they will have to get by a veteran MSU team that has a coach that can and HAS won the big one.

UPDATE:  When I found out yesterday afternoon that Fab Melo from Syracuse had been ruled ineligible from playing in the NCAA tournament (apparently because he's dumber than a box of rocks) a few things changed in my bracket.  The most important being that my beloved Buckeyes now have a legitimate shot to make the Final Four, which in turn really pisses me off because I had a chance for VIP tickets to the Final Four and TURNED THEM DOWN.  Grrr.  Anyhoo, my final four now consists of Michigan State, Kentucky, Ohio State and Kansas with Michigan State and Ohio State in the finals.  I'll let you figure out who I picked to win it.

Finally let's talk a little bit about this banana bread.  It's from the new cookbook from the highly successful blog Joy the Baker, whom I've followed for a few years now.  It's her grandmother's basic banana bread recipe to which she's added the always appropriate bourbon and chocolate!  I made three mini-loaves so I could share.  I took one of the loaves to my trainer who said he could smell the bourbon from a mile away and jokingly claimed he got a buzz after a few slices.  Rookie.   It amounted to one tablespoon of bourbon per loaf.  My highly trained alcohol taste buds could barely detect it.  It added the perfect amount of zip and you can never go wrong with bananas and chocolate.

Here's the recipe:

Mommom's Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread
Joy the Baker Cookbook

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I omitted)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition.  Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add bananas, lemon juice, and bourbon.  Beat until well incorporated.  Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once.  Beat until almost incorporated.  Stop the mixer and remove the bowl from the mixer.  Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and incorporate the rest of the ingredients with a spatula.  Spoon mixture into loaf pan.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean  Remove from the oven and allow loaf to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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