When I first started baking my brother gave me his Beard on Bread book to “borrow.” It was ear marked with his favorites and in great condition. It’s been 15 years. The book has traveled with me from Decatur, Georgia, to New Jersey, four apartments in Brooklyn and finally back to our home in New Jersey. I grab it often, thinking about the impact my brother has had on solidifying my cooking and, without a doubt, my life each time.
In general, the book is easy to follow and matter of a fact in its directions. The ingredients are limited to your everyday pantry items. And aside from having to cook things a little longer than stated, everything comes out as written.
Much like life no?
We don’t need much to have a good life but what we do need should be honest, pure and maybe a little bit sweet.
My go-to, which I revisited this weekend, is the honey banana bread. For the first time in a decade I kicked it up a notch with extra butter that I browned and then solidified in the fridge before baking. Even with the extra butter it’s still relatively healthier than most banana bread recipes these days. I zero'd out that healthiness by adding a cup of chocolate chips.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup honey 2 eggs 1 1/2 cup mashed, very ripe bananas(3 heavy ones should do it) 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup sliced or chopped nuts of your choice (optional) 1 cup high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional) Melt butter in pan on medium heat until it takes on a nutty smell and brown bits start to collect on the bottom. Cool butter (and brown bits) in bridge until solid. Cream the butter with a wooden spoon or in mixer with paddle attachment. Add the sugar and honey and beat until creamy and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, then thoroughly mix in the bananas.Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, and blend thoroughly into the mixture. Finally fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Butter a 12 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf tin and pour in the batter. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.