New year, new job, new resolutions, new food.
Old promises, old habits, old feelings, old(er) me.
Some of you have probably read my ode to 2012 on some other social media, so I won’t delve into the details of that. Instead, I look ahead to this year, 2013, and all that it has to offer.
While 2012 was about looking, 2013 will be about finding. It will be about reconciling the past with present and working towards a better future. It will be about settling into my new role as a twenty-something startup employee in a large(ish) city, and it will be about learning to let go. Most of all, it will be about rekindling an appetite for cooking and food and encouraging you all to do the same. Your kitchen, your city, and your world are full of culinary experiences waiting to happen, so let’s grab a spoon, fork, knife, chopsticks, napkin, or whatever else we may need and nom.
The saying goes that one should eat poor on January 1 in order to have a wealthier year. While I followed through with a first meal of a $3.50 breakfast burrito (thank you, San Diego), I am continuing the trope with something easy and affordable – banana bread.
Banana bread, #lezbereal, has been done to death on the Internet. That’s not a bad thing; it simply means that it lends itself to creative minds who want to make it into something special. It also means that those bananas that
you I left in the house for a week to disappear to Southern California won’t go to waste. Throw in some marshmallows and candied cornflakes, and a post-holiday pre-new-year-diet treat is in effect.
Make the cornflake crunch (adapted from Momofuku’s Milk Bar cookbook) in advance – it becomes a great addition to morning oatmeal or else an afternoon snack at work. While the bananas for the bread should be mushy and ripe, the banana for the topping should be firmer – they’ll become soft as they bake and caramelize nicely with the sugar coating. The recipe is courtesy of the Tartine cookbook; the quote below of this article.
“Where you start out—rich or poor, rustic or urbane—won’t determine where you end up, perhaps, but it will determine how you get there.”
Marshmallow Banana Bread
3/4 cup AP flour
1/3 cup almond meal
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 medium bananas, very ripe
2 large eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, unsalted, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar + 2 Tbsp
1/2 cup marshmallows
1 cup cornflake crunch (recipe follows)
1 medium banana, not fully ripe
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×5″ loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Peel and mash bananas in a second bowl until you have a chunky puree. Add eggs and vanilla and stir to mix well. Set aside.
- In a third mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add 3/4 cup sugar and beat and until light in color, scraping down the sides as needed. Slowly add the banana mixture and beat until incorporated.
- Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients, marshmallows, and cornflake crunch until fully combined. Transfer batter to a loaf pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula.
- Peel the medium banana and cut in half lengthwise. Place each half cut side down on top of the batter. Sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp sugar.
- Bake until the center is clean when poked with a toothpick, about 1 hour. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before taking out of pan. It will keep, well-wrapped, at room temperature for 2 days, or in the fridge for 1 week.
2.5 cups cornflakes
1/4 cup milk powder
1.5 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Pour the cornflakes in a medium bowl and crush with your hands until they are about a quarter of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat.
- Spread the clusters on a parchment or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes until they look toasted and smell buttery.
- Cool completely before using. Store in an airtight container for 1 week at room temperature or else in the fridge for 1 month.