Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Marly, Betty and Me: Confessions in the Oven Chamber

     Sorry, this is not about the world's worst dog in the movie, "Marley and Me" which stars Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston with their family dog. Take note, it's Marly, a former nursing colleague who used to work in the same cardiac center where I work for 28 years now. Actually, I call her Ma'am Marly because she used to be a Nurse Supervisor and some (just don't know exactly how many) years  my senior, but I decided to drop the "Ma'am" in this post. Marly now works and lives with her family in California, USA. She left the Philippines about 25 years ago. Marly and I just got ourselves reconnected a few months ago through a social network and since then, we have discovered that we share something in common---our love for crochet. But no, I will not talk about crochet. I mean, not for now (though I really plan to post something about her crochet works another time).

     So, if not crochet, what's it gonna be? Well, it's about the banana bread Marly baked for her family, photos of which she posted on her wall and shared with me several weeks ago. Hmmm... I like them fresh from her oven. The color and luster are so inviting! Look at these… I could only imagine how her kitchen smelled when she took these pictures!

   See...mouthwatering, aren't they?

      So, without any hesitation,  I asked Marly for the recipe which she readily and gladly shared with me.Here it is.
Marly's banana bread recipe:
1/2c oil
1 1/3c sugar
1 1/2c flour
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/3c buttermilk
3-4 very ripe bananas
1c walnut chopped
1/2c raisins

Cream oil and sugar, add eggs and salt and mix.
Add flour and baking soda combined with buttermilk alternately.
Add bananas.
Fold in nuts and raisins.
Grease regular loaf pans; pour in mixture.
Bake approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.
When bread leaves sides of pan and toothpick comes out clean, bread is done.
The recipe can be doubled. Makes 2 loaves.
Sour cream maybe substituted for the buttermilk.
      I hardly had any sleep in excitement to try the recipe myself. It was my first time to bake banana bread without the usual Banana Cake Premix which I couldn't  find anymore in the nearby grocery store. I made some modifications in Marly's recipe though. First, I substituted buttermilk with fresh milk-vinegar concoction. Second, I used prunes instead of raisins. And third, sad to admit, I forgot to add nuts. :(

     Here, take a look at my finished product. I hate to confess, I was disappointed it didn't look exactly like any of Marly's baked goodies (that's the name of her album). It's because I used brown instead of white sugar as I had none left at that time. Anyway I thought brown sugar would be more healthy.  I was able to make three loaves.

     Oh, please, don't be deceived by its color because I tell you, it really tasted good! My husband liked it, too! And I didn't doubt him when he said so! My own taste buds couldn't deceive me. I told Marly I just kept myself from eating most of it. 

     I was so inspired by the taste of Marly's banana bread that I planned to give it another try (as they, and Marly did say, "practice makes perfect"), but this time, using Betty Crocker's banana bread recipe. 

Look at the result! Betty Crocker's banana bread side-by-side with mine.

     Hmmm… if only not for the uneven top layer giving it a rough finish... okay, I'm sorry, I didn't spread the batter evenly into the loaf pan, resulting in a bumpy appearance, a rugged terrain? Ouch! (Ssshhhh… it seems nobody noticed when I shared a whole loaf with my colleagues during a meeting.) That could have been due to any of these:
      Miscalculation in measurement. Too much baking soda or baking powder - maybe. Not enough liquid - could be. Not beating the butter and sugar together long enough - another possibility.  Or the oven temperature was too low.1
     Well, I have a strong hunch that it was not because of low temperature. On the contrary, I believe it's the opposite.  If the cake is dry, it could be possibly due to: too much flour or leavening (baking soda/baking powder), not using enough shortening or sugar, or the cake was over-baked (the oven temperature was too high and/or the baking time was too long).2

 That's it! The baking time was most likely the culprit. That's another confession I have to make... I forgot to remove the loaf pans from the oven right away...multitasking, tsk, tsk. The cooked bread absorbed the excess heat eating up the moisture all the while the loaf pans stayed in the oven and must have reduced the softness and luster. 

Flop! Goes my adrenaline as it came crashing down. The excitement has fallen to ground zero, but it has given me another reason to take on another challenge. Well, I believe that's one good thing in life. There's just so much room for improvement to master the craft. As a matter of fact, as I write this, my hands are again aching to give it one, two, and many more tries? Of course, I would certainly post my next banana bread experiment. And whichever recipe I use, it's meant to smell and spell S-U-C-C-E-S-S! Meanwhile, bon appetit!
Linking to:
Fluster Buster


  1. It's a good thing you forgot the nuts. I HATE NUTS :P

  2. I love banana bread. I even cook banana bread with chocolate chips. which i posted on my blog too. YUmmy...

  3. hAtE NUTs? Wait till you taste walnuts!

    Hi Sweethestia, will try that next time...banana bread with chocolate chips. Went over your foodie blogs. Will try your tilapia and pork/chicken with oyster sauce recipes this weekend.


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