The Insatiable Desire to Bake

Every so often I am overcome with the insatiable desire to bake something.
I might not even like the thing I end up baking, but all I want is to be in the kitchen, using my hands, performing chemistry with simple ingredients, slowly savoring the process.
And the only way to sate this feeling is to jump into our tiny kitchen and get on with it.

Perhaps I was inspired by the new bowl boyfriend found
He keeps doing that.
I went fishing! Here's some Pyrex.
I went to Trader Joe's! Here's some Pyrex.
Tricky tricky.

  Or perhaps I was inspired by our newly purged and cleaned out kitchen.
I can actually access the sugar and flour without first removing every item from our pantry.
Such a novel idea.

Or perhaps it was the fact that the sun had just decided to make an appearance, quite late in the afternoon, but at just the right angle to come streaming through our friendly tree and right into our pokey little kitchen.

But really, it was because I had four frozen bananas that were begging to be turned into Cocoa Banana Bread, courtesy of the gorgeous Nigella Lawson.

The same weekend we did our great kitchen purge, I had this same insatiable desire to bake something.
When that happens, the book I often reach for first is Nigella's How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking.
That weekend I decided to make her recipe for Baklava Muffins.
You should decide to do this, too.

So last week, with frozen bananas thawing in the late afternoon sunlight, I automatically grabbed the same book.
Of course Nigella has a recipe for banana bread.

And of course it is decadent and moist and came out perfectly.
I didn't stray far from the recipe but I did take advantage of her chocolate-laced variation.
And let me tell you, adding cocoa powder and chunks of an old bar of chocolate you have laying around in your pantry should be your new favorite way to make banana bread.
A hint of banana combined with a chunk of dark chocolate isn't such a bad thing.
I did eliminate her addition of rum-soaked raisins, only because if there is one thing I can't stand, it is a raisin.
(Even soaked in rum.)
I will tolerate them in moderation in an oatmeal cookie from a bakery, but I am not about to willingly add any raisins to something I bake at home.
No way.

To replace that rummy-raisin flavor, I reached for our homemade vanilla extract that just so happens to have a white rum base.
It's the easiest thing ever: clean bottle, white rum, a couple of split vanilla beans, a dark cupboard, and two months of patience.
Voila! You have your own vanilla extract.

After all was mixed and baked, I felt good.
Good in a way that only baking can sometimes provide.
Dishes were washed up, put away.
The flour and cocoa powder were wiped off the counter.
Boyfriend had shown up just in time to help me out and snap some photographs.
(He gets all hazy, dreamy, bright white light photo credit save the two top photos and the photo above.)
And upon taking the parchment lined piece of Pyrex out of the oven, gently setting it upon a hand crocheted potholder, and looking around the cleaned up kitchen, I felt that all was right in my world.
The taxes I still haven't done were far from my mind.
The giant pile of Fall/Winter cowls on the couch were banished to the dark recesses of my brain.
The closet that needs to be cleaned out and reorganized didn't exist.
Just this warm little loaf of cocoa banana bread.

And I was sated.


  1. Just thought I would take a moment to let you know I am enjoying your blog + Twitter feed + Flickr account. I first noticed your additions to the Pyrex In Action group on Flickr. Also, I tried canning for the first time last year and would like to do more this year, so I enjoy entries you have written about canning.

  2. Thank you so much Lavidamd! Waking up to your kind comment totally made my morning! Canning is a lot easier than one might think, you just need a big block of time, space, and a bit of patience. Good luck!

  3. yes, he gets bonus points on those dreamy sun-filled photos!

    now, silly question... what is that cloth lining your loaf pan? also, cool tip about the homemade vanilla extract.

  4. Parchment paper! We get some brand of unbleached 'hippie' parchment and I rather like it for lining things like fussy white Pyrex loaf pans. It makes my life soooo much easier! ;)


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