Baking – Banana Bread from a mix

I love baking mixes. Do the end results taste as good as something completely made from scratch? Honestly, I think so. Although, I usually add some extra ingredients to the mixes to give them a bit more of a “from scratch” taste.

And honestly, when you have a couple bananas that are past the stage in which you would want to eat them, what’s better than banana bread? Not much, right?

Now, when I have the time, I have a recipe for banana bread that I like because it is so easy to put together. I’ve blogged about it here.

But, when it’s a summer morning and we have to get a lot of other stuff done, a mix is perfectly fine.

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Going Stir Crazy? Stir Some Batter.

The kiddos are definitely already ready for spring. It’s just sooooooo cold. I can’t blame them. I’ve been ready for spring since December 26th. But, the girls are now old enough that when they get bored, they start arguing. I told Ryan that I’m looking forward to a time in the future (far future) when we have a two story house and I can tell the girls to “go downstairs!” Or, “go upstairs!” *sigh* That’ll be awesome.

Since we have a one-story ranch house, my solution to the bickering came in the shape of a box of bread mix. (And, the fact that our bananas were ripe…..very ripe…..very very ripe.) So, the girls and I made two loaves of pumpkin bread (with three bananas mixed in). Bread and muffin mixes are some of my favorite pantry staples. Many times, I want to bake something but I just don’t have the time to mix and mix and mix. And many mixes are actually delicious or can be made delicious by throwing in a few ingredients (chopped nuts, dried fruit, bananas that are very, very, very ripe).

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And yes, they stopped fighting the entire time that we were preparing the bread. Ten minutes later they were arguing again but that short time was peaceful……

Banana Bread – with chocolate chips

Once again, I made my go-to banana bread recipe. And if you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know that each time I make this recipe I try to play around with it a little bit.  This time, I added 2/3 cup of chocolate chips before baking.  Chocolate + banana bread = Yummmmmm.

Chocolatey Banana Bread

Chocolatey Banana Bread

This may be one that I need to dial down a bit.  It was chocolatey.  I mean, it was really, really, really chocolatey.  I think that it would’ve been fine with just 1/3 of a cup.  But, all in all, it was good.  The bread had a good consistency and the chocolate chips were nicely interspersed throughout the bread.

In a lot of recipes, if you are adding something like chocolate chips, they recommend tossing the chips in some flour to ensure that they don’t just sink to the bottom. Don’t worry about that with this bread, though.  The bread is super thick when you mix it up so I didn’t bother tossing them in flour and as you can see from the photo, the chocolate chips were in every single bite.

Banana Bread – with cranberries

I’ve made this recipe many times before. And I’m trying to add something new to it each time I try it. This time, dried cranberries.  I started with 1/3 cup of cranberries but after I stirred it together it just didn’t look like enough.  So, I added another 1/3 cup for a total of 2/3 cup of cranberries.  Anytime I add cranberries to something, I tend to add more than many people would so I wasn’t sure if this was going to be too much…..or just right.  I love the taste and the look of cranberries so you may want to play around with the amount if you attempt this.

Cranberry Banana Bread

Cranberry Banana Bread

I really liked how this one turned out.  The bread had a great consistency and the cranberries were nice and juicy.  They weren’t super-tangy as cranberries usually are but I think that this combo was a pretty good one.  I’ll definitely be doing this variation again.

 

Banana Bread….again

Once again, I have made this banana bread recipe.  It is really becoming my go-to banana bread because it is just so easy.  This time, I double-checked to be sure that I had all of the ingredients that I needed before I started so I wouldn’t have another bread turn out like this.  I then returned to my original goal of playing around with the recipe each time that I made it.  This time, I added 1/3 cup of oats right before throwing it in the oven.

IMG_20140624_204803The results?  This bread was more dense than the very first batch.  I am guessing that that is because of the oats.  I pondered adding dried cranberries to this batch but wanted one banana bread completed with just one extra ingredient before adding others.  Next time?  Cranberries.

Banana Bread – The dough thickens

The last time that I made this bread, I said that perhaps the next time that I made it I would play around with the recipe some.  Well, let’s just say that tonight’s bread probably took that a bit too far.  First off, I realized after I already started mixing ingredients that we didn’t have any eggs.  O. K.  A quick search led me to this site with some substitutes for eggs.  If you are searching for egg substitutes, please keep in mind what you are preparing.  This site lists some substitutes for different types of baked goods (bread vs. cookies).

Problem 1 solved.

I added the rest of the ingredients.  I like to clear up the kitchen as I work so I started to throw measuring spoons into the dishwasher.  At that point, I realized that when I had added baking powder to the dough I actually should have added baking soda.  Oh.  Great.  At that point, I figured that this bread was either going to be edible or throw-out-able and there would probably not be an in between.  So, go big or go home, right?  I added 1/3 cup of oats.  Why?  Because the whole point of baking the bread tonight was to play around with the recipe.  The dough quickly became really, really, really thick.  Insanely thick.  1/3 of oats could make that much of a difference?  Who knew?  Not me.  To counteract that I added a couple squirts of honey.  I figured at that point I had nothing to lose. (Plus, if the bread didn’t turn out heavy as a brick, honey and banana always pair well together.)

I threw it in the oven with the knowledge that in an hour I would either have an experiment gone right or a large loaf of cat food.

The result?

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

It is definitely darker than the last time and a lot denser.  It also has a weird under-cooked flavor.  Is it edible?  Yes.  Is it really yummy? Um, no.  But, I haven’t lost my determination to keep playing around with this recipe.  But, I think that next time I’ll check to be sure that I have all of my ingredients ready to go before I start mixing.

Super Easy Banana Bread

We had several overly-ripened bananas and the best thing to do with overly-ripened bananas is to make a banana bread.  I did a quick search online for easy banana bread recipes and came across this one.  I liked that it seemed to have very little prep work and the ingredients could all be mixed together in one bowl.

This recipe came together incredibly quickly.  It may be the only bread recipe (other than a quick bread mix) that I would attempt when one has to keep listening for little toddler feet who are supposed to be in their bed and instead keep running around their room.  I did ponder adding some oats to it for no other reason than because the oats were sitting on the counter – so, perhaps next time.

I will definitely try this recipe again.  The crust was nice and crunchy.  The center was soft but not the weird tastes-slightly-undercooked thing that happens with some banana bread recipes.  Plus, it was easy.  I do think, though, that next time I’ll play around with the ingredients.  Perhaps add some oats, or honey, or dried cranberries.

The finished bread

The finished bread