blindness and banana bread

Fun fact about this blogger: I am one of the rather rare examples of a female with colour blindness. The more accurate term is actually colour vision deficiency and I try to use it instead as it deters people from thinking I cannot see colours at all. While I do sometimes mix up colours, for the most part I am unhindered. When I do mess up, it usually just makes me laugh more than anything.

One problem that has arisen is an inability to notice mold on foods. One time, my similarly colour vision deficient brother and father once ate some bread that had, according to my step-mom, a rather disgusting blue tinge to it. I’ve been careful about checking for mold ever since.

Now some of you might be wondering why I’m talking about this on a blog that is supposed to be about finding the small delights in life. Honestly, I mostly just like telling people about my colour issues (it’s my go-to interesting fact about myself for ice-breaker activities).
But there is a super minor link to what I want to talk about today.
While I do take care to look for food that has gone bad, there is one food item that I actually get very excited about when it starts to age too much. After years of seeing seriously black bananas in my fridge and coming to realize that banana bread was on the way, the sight of them now brings me distinct feelings of glee.

When I happened across a recipe for Nutella-swirled banana bread, I knew I had to get some ripe bananas and give it a go. If you have some really ripe bananas lying around, you should follow along with these instructions.

 

You will need:

  • 3 bananas, yellow with brown speckles or even more ripethe supplies
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup Nutella

 

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease whatever pan you want to bake it in. The recipe called for a couple of loaf pans but I couldn’t even find one because my housemates seemingly like to play hide and seek with our kitchen supplies. I used a Bundt pan and it worked just fine and dandy.
Additionally, the recipe calls for the buttering of the pan but I realized partway through pouring my mix in that I had forgotten to and it made no difference. Sometimes I don’t get the point of certain steps.

Mash your bananas and set them aside.

mashed bananas

a progress shot to show you how messy I am

Combine the sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla in one bowl. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the first bowl and combine until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas until combined.

Heat the Nutella in the microwave to soften it (about 20 seconds) and then drizzle about 2/3rds of it into the batter. Fold over to combine but try not to over mix so you keep the swirls of Nutella visible. Pour the batter into your pan and swirl the remainder of the Nutella into the top.Bake until a tester comes out clean. The recipe says 45 minutes but it took mine about an hour. Just keep checking it to make sure nothing is burning.

Allow the bread to cool and then enjoy! If you want even more Nutella up in that thing, go ahead and heat some off to drizzle more in top. Embrace your hazelnut chocolate overload.

2014-03-25 14.49.12

TA-DA!

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watch my terrible baking! chocolate lava cakes!

And now for something completely different: a video I put together for you! Watch below to learn how to make an absolutely divine chocolate lava cake.

I have been absolutely obsessed with these desserts for a long, long time now and I have been hit several times for a craving for them. While I learned this year that Domino’s Pizza has a lava cake and have indulged in it a few times, I always find myself vaguely unsatisfied with them. I think they just seem a little too artificial from me and I’m wary about what exactly has gone into them.
As I was watching YouTube videos by How To Cook That, a channel filled with numerous fantastic desserts, I came across a video to meet all my lava cake needs.
I decided to try my hand at it and film the process so you can see just how easy it is to make as this was my very first attempt to make it and I managed just fine. Watch the video and then check out the more detailed recipe and instruction after if you want to experience this decadent delight.

For the chocolate tops you will need:

About two cups of melted chocolate. If you are using real chocolate (i.e. if it has Cocoa Butter in the ingredients) you will have to temper it. There are plenty of sources online that can explain how to do that but I would recommend you simply use fake chocolate to make things easier for yourself. Melt the chocolate and spread it out flat. Set it aside to cool. As you can probably see in my video, my chocolate topping was not entirely set but it still tasted great so whatever.

For the brownie base you will need:

  • 2 cups melted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ cups self-raising flour (or regular flour with 1 ½ tsp baking powder)

Mix all of the brownie ingredients together and then pour into a baking tray lined with baking paper.  If you want you can sprinkle in stuff like nuts or chopped chocolate but keep in mind this will make it more difficult to cut later.

Bake the brownies at 360°F until a you can poke with a knife and have it come out clean. I forgot to keep track of how long it took mine to bake but just keep checking on them and you will be fine.

When fully baked, allow the brownies to fully cool and then use a circular tool to separate them into pieces. Remove a smaller circle from the centre of these pieces and fill that hole with ganache (I used about 2 cups of milk chocolate with ¼ cup of milk but feel free to make whatever ganache you prefer).

Use the circular tool to cut a disc out of the chocolate topping and place it on your brownie piece. Drizzle warm ganache on top and watch it melt through.
The sight of chocolate oozing out is quite delightful but, if you are like me, you don’t have time for that pretty business. That cake is getting in your mouth pronto.