Teaching is not a solitary sport…it is without a doubt a team effort! Great teachers know that the people around them are ESSENTIAL to their success. One of the 5 C’s of Authentic Teaching (check out “The Basics” tab on menu) is focusing on real collaboration with the people around you.
Another one of the 5 C’s is caring for yourself as an educator. Did you know educators make more decisions per minute than most professions? Teaching is exhausting on its best days. Those of us who feel passionately about teaching are willing to give it our all. BUT, we must take time for self-care. That leads me to Stress Baking. I, am a stress baker, and since I am frequently stressed…I frequently bake!
This is great news for my friends at school, because I like to share my baking with others (predominantly so I don’t eat it all myself). So, I am sharing some of my all time favorite recipes on this blog with easy step by step directions. Hopefully, if you like to bake, you might add this into your kitchen classics! Enjoy! Check out this video on my banana bread bribery thoughts….
- 1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 really ripe bananas
- 1 T of vanilla (not imitation)
- 2 c. Bisquick
- 1 c. of chips (chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, the new espresso chocolate…wow have to try that)
- 1/2 c. nuts (pecan, walnut, or almond slivers) (OPTIONAL)
Banana Bread is delicious! I wish you could smell what homemade banana bread smells like…I am pretty sure it is unconditional love! A little dramatic – but seriously amazing. Here are the steps to get this delicious banana bread! Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.
- Get your softened stick of butter. You can leave it out for a while – or if you are like me and always forget – pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds. Start mixing that with your stand mixer, hand mixer, or if you are really old school a nice strong wooden spoon. Mix for 1 minute or so…
- Pour in 1 c. of sugar and cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. This means mix for a long time (around 2 – 3 minutes)!
- Add in 2 eggs and keep mixing. Sometimes, I will stop after I add the eggs and scrape down the side and bottom of the mixer if the sugar/butter mix is stuck to the sides. Then, I turn it on high for another 2 – 3 minutes until it is light, fluffy, and a golden yellow color.
- Now…this is where you really have to trust me…take a leap… You need 4 VERY RIPE bananas. I have taken a picture of the MINIMUM level of ripeness. Often, when my bananas start to look like this and people are only eating donuts around here – I will put them in the freezer. They turn dark brown/black and look rotten. Thaw these out in the microwave or on the counter and they make the BEST bread. But, if that grosses you out – use bananas that look like this. However, don’t EVER use green, super yellow, beautiful bananas. It messes the bread all up!
- While the mixer is running ON HIGH (stand mixer) drop in chunks of the bananas, or stop, put in a banana piece and turn on high, repeat (hand mixer), or with your now extremely strong arms – just keep mixing in the banana pieces in chunks. Do NOT mash your bananas before putting them in. If you use those amazing, frozen, rotten looking bananas, the whole thing will just slide in. Mmmmm….. The goal is to mix the bananas into the mix where it is in tiny pieces and all the good banana juices are in your batter!
5. Add in 1 Tablespoon of real vanilla (not imitation).
6. Now, you should have a shiny, smooth (except for banana chunks) batter. Slowly add in 2 c. of bisquick. Stir on high for a short time (1 min. or so) until the bisquick is totally combined with your wet ingredients.
7. Take the bowl and decide on your chip of choice. The all time favorite is, surprisingly, white chocolate chips! But, any kind of chip will do. Put 1 c. of chips into a measuring cup and put about a T of bisquick or flour on top. OVER the bowl of your batter, mix the flour with the chips. Chips and flour will start falling over into your bowl. Once most have mixed – dump the rest out into your bowl. This way the chips will not all fall to the bottom. Fold them in with a rubber scraper/spatula/wooden spoon.
8. Now, you get to choose a pan and for me this is generally based on how much time I have. You can go with the traditional bread loaf pan, a square 9×9 pan, a smaller loaf pan, or the individual loaf pans. Any of these will work fine! The large loaf pans take between 30 – 50 minutes to cook (I know that is a huge range…I’ll explain in a minute), the small loaf pans take between 25-40 min., the 9×9 square pans take 20-30 min., and the mini pans take 15 – 30 min.
9. Once you have selected the perfect pan, spray generously with cooking spray or go old-school and butter/flour the pan. Pour the batter in no more than 3/4 of the pan (trust me…any higher and you are asking for trouble!) Put into the oven ON A SHEET TRAY! I do this because (1) I might occasionally overfill and then have batter spilling all over the oven and (2) you can put in as one group and take out as one group.
10. THIS IS WITHOUT A DOUBT THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP! Set your timer for the lowest amount of minutes I mentioned above. Then, when that timer goes off…start your babying/checking of that bread. ALWAYS UNDERCOOK YOUR BANANA BREAD! Again – like the rotten looking bananas…trust me! Undercooked banana bread is WAAAAAYYYY better than cooked to full term banana bread. So, once the minimum timer goes off, I start checking every 3-5 minutes (don’t forget to reset the timer). Each time I check I am looking for 3 things (1) that beautiful toasty brown color (2) I can touch the bread and not leave a finger indent and of course it is not jiggly and (3) I can put in a toothpick or knife and it comes out SLIGHTLY CRUMBLY – NOT CLEAN!!!
11. Allow the bread to cool on the counter for as long as you can wait (in our house it is rarely more than 5 min.) Don’t panic if the middle sinks a little – in undercooked, super delicious banana bread this is an occupational hazard. Then, you are ready for BANANA BREAD BRIBERY! Take that absolutely delicious banana bread to school. Share it with your colleagues. Use it to never forget that it takes everybody giving, sharing, and being their best with each other to make the amazing moments happen at school and in the lives of our students. Here is the banana bread on a table full of food…my very favorite thing in the world…at a lunch to welcome our newest team member before the school year started! Have fun sharing your stress reliever with your co-workers and bribing people to like you just a little bit more than they might have without it!
Final Note – This recipe is amazing because you can basically make any kind of bread with it. Replace the 4 ripe bananas with about 2 cups of any mushy/liquidy fruit combo. (Ex. peach bread, blueberry/lemon, sweet potato, one time I even made an acorn squash version, etc.) You can add in spices/flavorings. Each time your batter should end at the same basic consistency as the banana bread version. If it is too thick – I add in buttermilk or milk. If it is too thin, I add in more Bisquick.