Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Recipes: Banana Bread and Pound Cake

Here are two of my favorite recipes that are not just for Christmas but can be enjoyed any time of year. They can both but baked in bunt pans, loaf pans, or in mini-loaves. The pound cake I usually bake in a bunt pan, but for Christmas I sometimes bake it in min loaf pans in order to wrap up and give as gifts. The banana bread is another treat that does well in min loaf pans or even in muffin tins.

This is my favorite banana bread recipe, but it is the only one that does not give a prescribed measurement for the mashed bananas. It just says, "3 large bananas." I usually mash them with a fork on a dinner plate, and they will pretty much fill the plate when mashed. The last time I made it, I only had medium-sized bananas. When I mashed them, they didn't quite fill the plate, so I mashed up another half of a banana and the recipe turned out fine (I've never had this one to fail except when the bananas were way too ripe).

The pound cake is another one that always goes over well. I never bother with the icing  it's good enough without it. Both of these recipes come from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Cooking.

BANANA BREAD

1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp, soda
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp, salt
3 lge. bananas, mashed
1 tsp, vanilla

Combine shortening, sugar and eggs; blend well.
Dissolve soda in 3 tablespoons hot water; mix with
sugar mixture. Add 1 cup flour and salt; beat well.
Add bananas, remaining flour and vanilla; mix until
smooth. Pour into loaf pan. Bake at 375 degrees for
45 minutes.

[Note: if you use this recipe in min loaves or in muffin pans, shorten the time to about 20 minutes]

BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE

Ingredients:
3c. sugar
1stick soft butter
1/2 c. shortening
5 eggs
3 c. flour
1c. buttermilk
1/2 tsp, soda
1 tsp, vanilla
1 tsp, lemon flavoring

Directions
Combine sugar, butter and shortening; beat until
smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well
after each addition. Add flour and buttermilk  
alternately, mix well. Dissolve soda in 1 tablespoon
water; stir into batter. Add flavorings; pour into
greased tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and
15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing
from pan; invert onto cake rack to cool completely.

Buttermilk Icing
1 tsp, soda
1c. buttermilk
2 c. sugar

Stir soda into buttermilk;  combine all ingredients
except vanilla in saucepan. Cook until icing forms soft
ball; cool. Add vanilla; beat slightly. Spread over side
and top of cake.

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