26.5.13

Strawberry Banana Walnut Bread


I have eight days of school left. EIGHT DAYS. 

One part of my brain is chanting happyhappyjoyjoy and the other part is becoming really emotional.  (Warning!) I will probably write an unnecessarily long post about it in a couple weeks.

Friday my school had a field trip to Carowinds, but because the trip is expensive, the majority of my students didn't go. Many stayed home, and some (of my favorite kids!) came to school.  Since all the other students were doing fun things, we didn't exactly want to spend the whole day in the classroom, so we set up a mini soccer tournament and played some pretty intense uno and I taught them how to play catchphrase and apples to apples. It was fun, and I realized how much more I like some of my students when I'm not responsible for their education. It's a little late for that realization, I know.

Anyway, since I've been kind of nostalgic lately, I decided to do one of my favorite childhood activities this weekend.

Strawberry Pickin'!!!


To add to my overly emotional state, I discovered that the strawberry farm I grew up going to every year had recently closed. We went to Smith's Nursery instead, which turned out to be almost as wonderful. 

It was a BEAUTIFUL day outside and I was as happy as I could be. I dragged Adam and his brother along, and while they weren't super enthused at first, they had fun in spite of themselves. 

It brought back lots of memories like this: 


(In case you were wondering, the kid in the burgundy shirt is not, in fact, a boy. That's me. Our friends Rachel and Justin are on the left and Becca and I are on the right. I was eight years old and my sister was five.  She is always the cuter one in photos and in real life. Please also notice that I have more strawberries than anyone else.)

Growing up, whenever we'd go strawberry picking, we would come home, help my mom cut and clean all the strawberries, and then make strawberry bread. 


This is one of those recipes that my mom has had forever. We make it the same way, every year, with no changes.

I didn't exactly want to change up something that was already perfect, nor did I want to break any of my mom's rules of baking, but in my opinion the ratio of sugar to flour in this bread was pretty high, especially considering it's more of a breakfast food than a dessert and I have a tendency to eat three slices of it in one sitting.

I eventually decided to cut out half of the sugar and replace it with mashed ripe banana.


SUCCESS!

The bread was slightly less sweet than the original, but I didn't miss the extra sugar at all. The banana flavor was present, but not overwhelming and added a touch of extra moistness. (always a plus)

This bread is perfection served warm or cold. A little butter on a slice would be good. A little strawberry cream cheese would be ridiculous. I'm sure you're already envisioning other ideas...
.
Traditions are important, but sometimes it's fun to add your own twist.



Strawberry Banana Walnut Bread

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about two large bananas)
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups canola oil
1/2 cup water
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries (or 2 10oz packages frozen strawberries, thawed and choppedD)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf pans by greasing and flouring.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.

Make a well in the center of mixture. Combine banana, eggs, vanilla, canola oil and water in a medium sized bowl.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until well combined.

Add in the strawberries and walnuts, then spoon mixture into 2 prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Cool loaves in pans for about 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack and cool completely. 

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