When I was a kid, my sister and I would watch the Food Channel and attempt to cook our own versions of some of the recipes we would find there. That was long before finding a recipe on the Internet was as easy as it is today, so we had the luxury of a pen and paper to jot down the ingredients as they were zipping past us on the TV screen.
I loved cooking for a crowd, even if what I cooked tasted like garbage, and I left the kitchen looking barbaric—I cooked it and I was proud.
This experience has been the building blocks on which my passion for cooking and baking was built.
Fast forward to the here and now, 20 years later; I have a growing family and an endless arsenal of cooking hacks, recipes, cheat sheets and a wealth of new ideas, thanks to the World Wide Web. Not to mention, my kitchen looks a lot less barbaric (most of the time), and my food tastes a lot less like garbage.
Ready to broaden my horizons, I began to teach myself to bake. Baking can be like a science, and sometimes, it really feels like a lab project. I’ve really been known to screw things up in the baking arena. Once, I accidentally dumped too much of what I thought to be cinnamon into my peanut butter cookies, except it wasn’t actually cinnamon; it was onion powder, and I could not get it all out. I baked (and ate) them anyway.
Needless to say, I can still taste the nasty onion flavor, and my husband refuses peanut butter cookies three years later. Lesson learned!
This Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread recipe is one that I have been working on for years, and I finally feel like I can stop messing with it. I usually never add an acid to this recipe, and I feel it was truly missing out. I needed something to activate the baking soda this time around and make it a little more fluffy and less hockey puck-ish. Hockey Puck Banana Bread tastes amazing but looks like something only a mother could love.
So, I did add a small amount of plain Greek yogurt to this recipe to get those carbon dioxide bubbles formed and create an oh-so-fluffy treat that was well worth the 50 minutes for it to bake.
Something that I have recently learned is that if I add an acid to a recipe that calls for baking soda, it makes things so much more fluffy. I also have another secret weapon that I use in all of my cakes, muffins or breads: mayonnaise. It adds a certain level of moist and dense richness that I have not been able to get from other ingredients. Give it a try, throw a twist on in and make it your own!