Friday, December 6, 2013

Church Bake Sale and Peanut Butter Banana Date Bread

   I love to bake. I really enjoying cooking, always have, but I love to bake. I especially like it when someone enjoys what I have made. It makes whatever it took to get that baked worth it. Not to mention how much cheaper and more rewarding and fulfilling it is than therapy. :-) When I can bake to help further the Kingdom of God, all the better the blessing. Our Women's Ministry at church periodically will raise money for things like the school we have and missions. The Sunday before Thanksgiving after church we had a bake sale. I pulled out some card stock tags, ink and some stamps and got started.

These are the stamps used for tags on each item to sell.

Happy Thanksgiving 


Happy Thanksgiving with autumn leaves

Give Thanks

Tags done~ quick, easy and fun.

   Now it is on to baking. I am going to make No~Bake Cookies, Banana Oatmeal Muffins of which half will be topped with Maple Buttercream frosting and Peanut Butter Banana Date Bread.

   I do appreciate the money I can save shopping at Aldi's and I do like their products. Most of their products are as good and some better than high priced and name brand products at the traditional groceries. I have mentioned I do not like their soap or cleaning products, household or personal hygiene items. I have found another product I will not purchase again and threw out the entire can after I took the 1/3 cup out for the cookies and met the result with complete disaster. See that canister of "Baker's Corner Baking Cocoa"? I highly recommend you skip that one at Aldi's. The recipe for these cookies you will see on blue spiral tablet paper is from a project I did in fourth grade. I have used this recipe ever since and have made it the same way every time. For the last 15 years or so I have made them in the same pot. I have never had a batch turn out badly. I do not work in a cocoa kitchen of any kind but based on the outcome of the batch of cookies this baking cocoa produced they either pressed far too much of  the fat out of the cacao beans or added far too much alkalizing agent to it. My guess is they did both. I do enjoy Aldi's oatmeal almost everyday for breakfast and use it for all my recipes that call for oats or oatmeal. When I went to the grocery to get Hershey's Cocoa I also bought some Quaker Oats. That was probably not necessary but I had things to do on the Saturday I was baking and buying Quaker Oats just gave me a little peace of mind.
Aldi's Oats and Baking Cocoa

Tried and true Quaker Oats and Hershey's Cocoa.

This recipe I use was one I made in 4th grade for a class project.

That was back in the day where I folded everything :-)

No Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 stick real butter
1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups oats

Put first four ingredients in saucepan and bring to a medium boil for 4 minutes, 5 minutes is too much so take the pan off of the heat before 5 minutes. I usually let it boil for about 4 minutes.
Add vanilla.
Stir in oats until they are evenly distributed and drop on wax paper.


Let them cool while the other two recipes are made.
 Pale in color, dry, crumbly and slightly more tasty than artificially flavored cardboard. For comparison, these are from the batch made from the Aldi's cocoa which quickly made their way to the trash.

    Whip up two more items for the bake sale and I can package them up. Both recipes will call for ripened banana's and I had two that would work. I am making a double batch of both recipes which will call for a total of 10 bananas. So the eight that needed a little ripening are headed for some manufactured accelerated ripening.
These are just not ripe enough so in the oven they go for about 5-8 minutes on 350°.
They look like a mess, but they were perfect. I buy banana's, Jon eats them. So this is what I do. 

   The next recipe is Banana Oatmeal Muffins. Spark Recipes is full of fun and delicious healthy recipes. It is a cite worth perusing. Because their byline and purpose is to provide healthy recipes I was a little surprised to find one there that had 1/2 cup of shortening in its list of ingredients. This recipe in its original form does call for just that and you will see that if you opt to go to the original recipe. Originally this also called for chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. I only keep shortening around if I am doing a decorated cake that I must have pure white frosting for and can not use a pure buttercream which has a cream colored cast to it. So, I used 1/2 cup of butter instead of the shortening and I do not use the chocolate chips or walnuts in this particular banana muffin recipe. I like both individually or together in banana muffins, but the simple and wonderful flavor of this muffin is just too good to goober it up with other layers of flavor. Using oats in a recipe is a great way to add incredible texture and to bind and hold the ingredients together. When I discovered this recipe an entirely new world opened up for me in the world of baking. Pre~cooked oatmeal offers so much to this recipe. I would not put it in meatballs, but anywhere the oats are not needed for binding other ingredients together I am experimenting with pre~cooked oatmeal. Here is the original Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins on Spark Recipes.

   Below the photos is my rendition of that recipe and I call them just:   Banana Oatmeal Muffins.

Simple ingredients you most likely have at a any given time.

In recipes like this that add mashed banana's I use one bowl. I love to bake, not clean unnecessary dishes.

This recipe calls for sifting. I sift for all recipes with rare exception. Aerating the flour gives a nicer end result.

These are amazingly moist, rich and so full of simple flavor.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Makes 12 muffins
Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line muffin pan.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
1 cup Cooked Oatmeal  (which is 1/2 cup of oats cooked in 1 cup water)
2 cups all~purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

If you are not using leftover oatmeal and are making it for this recipe; make the oatmeal first so it can cool before adding to batter.

In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Add banana’s and mash them, then add cooked and cooled oatmeal. Stir all together until nicely blended. Sift in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Spoon batter into prepared muffins cups filling to about 2/3 full. 

Bake 22-25 minutes, or until done. They will be golden around the edges and paler on top.

Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes then remove muffins from pan placing them back on cooling rack. Good served warm or cold.

   The next recipe will be a double batch of Peanut Butter Banana Date Bread.

Pampered Chef Measure~All® Cup

   Since there is no creaming of the ingredients in the Peanut Butter Banana Date Bread I have mashed bananas in advance rather than mashing them with the whole of the other ingredients. I don't want to overwork the quick bread dough by mashing them in the batter. I pause to show you this because this Pampered Chef Measure~All® Cup is great for butter, bananas, peanut butter, or any solid ingredient. If you turn the tool around and flip it over you will see that it measures liquid from the opposite end. I love NOT scraping food out of a measuring cup. You simply press the whole of the ingredient measured out with one gentle push. Happiness! 

   My father was a great cook, and if it were bread of some kind he loved to bake. He made the best Pepperoni Bread. It seemed to take forever with the rising time, but well worth the wait! Below is a cookbooklet published spring of 1985 and that is when I bought it. Thumbing through it I happened onto the Peanut Butter Banana Date Bread recipe. It was a quick bread and not a yeast bread, but because of the three mentioned ingredients I just knew dad would want to try it when I showed it to him. I knew being made with a mix wouldn't hinder his wanting to give it a go because quick breads, thought not the boxed ones, were really his thing. I made a mental note to put the cookbooklet in my purse so I would have it with me after church Sunday as the girls and I usually went to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Sunday dinner. Then it occurred to me ~ he's gone Teresa, he is not there. Dad died just a few months earlier in January that year. If you have ever lost someone you had very regular contact with, and loved as one does a parent, you understand I was not crazy for not remembering at that moment so soon after his passing that he was in fact, gone. So, suffice it to say this particular cookbooklet brings a tinge to my heart, a churn to my stomach and brief moment of heat to my eyes. That is why I like to use if for fun things, and I thought to bake a loaf or two of that bread for the church bake sale just seemed right.

The tag says, "tried & true".

Simple ingredients.

I do not want a full loaf sitting about the house so I made a little individual serving to split with Jon.

This would be where Emeril Lagasse's "smellavision" would be nice. Delightful aroma!

Once cool these little darlings can be wrapped for the bake sale.

Ours however are going to be eaten warm. 

Here is the recipe.

Peanut Butter Banana Date Bread

1 box Pillsbury Date or Nut Bread Mix  (I always use date.)
1 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon wheat germ

Heat oven to 350°F. Using solid shortening grease and flour bottom only of 8X4 or 9X5 inch loaf pan. In large bowl, combine all ingredients except wheat germ; stir 50 to 75 strokes until dry particles are moistened. Pour into prepared pan; sprinkle with wheat germ.

Bake at 350°F for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator. Makes 1 loaf.

You can use creamy or crunchy peanut butter, I use creamy for this bread. Like the photo suggests, I do spread peanut butter on this when I snack on it, I like and use the crunchy then. Fig preserves and orange marmalade age good choices, too. I use canola oil for the oil in the recipe. I rarely use shortening but I do to grease and flour this bread. This may not be tofu on spinach with a balsamic vinaigrette but I did give it the Healthy Eating label because overall for a snack it is not so bad, particularly if you are comparing it to "snack cakes", especially the store bought varieties.

The wrapping and packaging begins.

The flavor in these is rustic and simple, and they are so moist.  They are  perfect for Autumn.

3 cookies to a cup.


   I hope your Thanksgiving was full of all the people and things you are thankful for!

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