Ice Cream Bread

Ice Cream Bread 9

I’m not really one to share those recipes that pop up on my Facebook feed.  I have more efficient (for me) ways of finding/storing them so I tend to ignore them most of the time.  This one, however, I decided that I had to try for scientific reasons.  With so many ice creams languishing in our freezer (it’s been too cold a winter to want to indulge), I figured this would be a good way to use some of them up.  And it’s kind of a neat idea.

Ice Cream Bread 1

So this is what you do: Take 2 cups of your ice cream of choice, and plop those in a bowl.  I used a combo of cookies ‘n’ cream and cherry.  

Ice Cream Bread 2

Let that melt (or put it in the microwave and melt it).

Ice Cream Bread 3

Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease and flour a standard loaf pan.  I used parchment on mine.

Ice Cream Bread 4

Now you need some self-rising flour.  If you don’t have any, you can make some: just mix 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon baking powder.  Add 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (so double that wee DIY recipe for the self-rising) to your ice cream mixture and stir until just combined.

Ice Cream Bread 5

Smooth the batter into your loaf pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Ice Cream Bread 6

I’d thought it would rise up more, but oh well.

Ice Cream Bread 8

Because it’s not a cake — it’s a bread — we found it was a lovely dessert bread spread with Nutella.  Give it a try!

Ice Cream Bread 10

Coconut Bimini Bread

I am heavily into reading the international culinary exploits of Sasha at The Global Table.  The idea of making a full meal from every single country in the world tickles my anthropological aesthetic.

Sasha’s venture into the food of the Bahamas caught my eye, and I decided to try her Coconut Bimini Bread.  The Pie is a huge bread fan and I love cake, so this could be a very good thing for our little household.  I don’t have a bread maker, which is where she mixed her dough and had it rise, so I had to make do with my stand mixer and my frigid Newfoundland kitchen.

I don’t fail as much these days, but it does happen sometimes.  This was such an occasion.  Here is how my version turned out.

Take yourself 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour, 1/4 cup dry milk powder (a handy thing to keep around the house), 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup coconut milk (warmed, to help activate the yeast), 3 tablespoons honey, 3 tablespoons softened butter, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and 3 eggs.  Chuck those in the bowl of your mixer in the order given.

Give it a stir in the mixer.  It takes only a few seconds to mix it all up.  Add a bit of extra flour if your dough is too wet.

I popped the dough in another bowl, covered it with a towel, and put it in a warm spot to rise for an hour and a half.

Then the Pie made me a grilled cheese sandwich.  I ate it.  It was good.

After an hour and a half, nothing had noticeably happened to the dough.  Nonetheless, I proceeded.

Sasha says the dough is enough to fit in one Pullman-sized loaf pan or two regular bread pans.  Pop your dough in an oiled pan or two and leave it to rise for another 30 minutes and preheat your oven to 350°F.

After rising, slash the top with a sharp knife (oops, I forgot the slash) and then bake for 35 minutes or until brown on top and cooked through.  I had sincere doubts about this bread.  It hadn’t risen at all.  Maybe I need to knead it a bit first?  Perhaps my dough was too wet.  Probably the latter.

My loaf didn’t brown, but I’m not offended.  My oven isn’t the kind of oven that browns things.  I also failed to get either loaf out of the pan in one piece.

We had it hot with butter and a bit of honey and it was pretty good, though a little heavy.  We also made it into French toast and it was kind of awesome.  I’d definitely like to try this one again and see if I can’t get it right.

Yes! We have no bananas Banana Bread

There are so, so very many bananas in my freezer.  I swear that the Pie doesn’t eat the fresh bananas simply so I will chuck them in the freezer in anticipation of me having a banana bread fest.  He loves banana bread.  More than he loves me. Honest.

This recipe comes from my magic book, though I think Kristopf actually gave it to me, ages ago.  Who knows where he got it from.  I was about ten or twelve at the time, which would put him at about fourteen or sixteen.  What teenage boy makes banana bread for fun?

Anyway.

Me being me, I of course have modified the original recipe, and I generally use more bananas than is really necessary.  It makes the finished loaf a little more crumbly but it ups the banana-y-ness to the max.  I also generally make these loaves in bulk, usually three at a time (I have three pans) but sometimes more, and then I wrap what we don’t eat tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it for another day.  Or give it to KK.  Or both.

I thawed the bananas in a bowl on my counter overnight and they were nice and blackened and soggy.  Today I made the recipe below, but I did it in triplicate.  If you make the single version that I’ve outlined below you should end up with two loaves.

The Pie, having nothing to keep him occupied, decided to help me today.  He has never made banana bread before.  He absolutely refused to touch the bananas in their black skins.  He promised me he would do all the raw chicken touching for the rest of our lives if I would do the banana stuff.  I’m okay with that.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

You’ll need 5 defrosted or very ripe bananas. Peel those gooshy suckers into a bowl.

Dissolve 1 tablespoon baking soda in 3 tablespoons hot water.  Of course, it doesn’t really dissolve, but if you keep stirring it you can get a temporary suspension.

Pour this into the banana mixture and mush it in with a fork until the bananas are all separated into small pieces.  The Pie helped me with this part, but under duress.  Set them aside for the nonce.

In a large bowl, beat together 2 eggs, 1 cup room temperature butter (that’s half of one of those 1-pound blocks), and 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar until fluffy.

In yet another bowl or measuring cup, whisk together 3 cups all-purpose flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder.  Set that aside, too.

Pour your banana mixture into your egg mixture and stir that up as well. 

The mixture should look slightly curdled at this point, and weird tendrils of banana fibre will stick to your mixing utensil and may gross you out.  The Pie said, at this point, “This – making banana bread for the first time – is kind of like seeing a woman give birth.  It’s something that you can’t un-see, and it will always affect how you see it in the future.”

Fold in your flour mixture, a little at a time.  If you want to put in chocolate chips or walnuts or whatever, now is the time to do so.  The Pie is a purist, however, so we have ours plain.

If you are following my lead and doing more than two loaves, do all your batches separately (in case of measuring mistakes) and don’t mix your wet and dry ingredients together in the other batches until you are ready to bake them.  Don’t want no chemical reactions to start too early.

Divide your batter between two greased loaf pans and smooth the tops.  I’ve been having trouble getting my extra-crumbly loaf out of the pan in one piece, so this time I decided to line them with parchment paper to ease the passage.  It was an experiment that worked out really well because it was a snap to use the edges of the paper to lift out the cooked loaves.  Then I just peeled off the paper and left the loaf on the rack to cool.

Bake for 60 minutes until dark brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Turn out and let cool on a wire rack.

This stuff is good hot, it’s good cold, and as I said above, it freezes really well.

Rodentia Update

If this were a real mouse it would be in trouble for being on my counter.

Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.

Because a war this has become.

The little mouse is taunting me, baiting me daily with its bold exploits across my floors.

The Pie and I have come to the  conclusion that perhaps there is only one mouse, and we simply see it on multiple occasions.  It’s always the same colour, same size, and it picks the same routes through the house every time.

It gloats over my frustrated attempts to keep it out.

Remember how I jammed dryer sheets into every crack in the fireplace?  Well it’s not coming through the cracks – it’s coming through the dripping, sagging, and fetid pink fibreglass insulation that is blocking my chimney.  There is obviously a hole in said chimney, as well, because the mouse, if thwarted coming out of the fireplace, can go through the wall some how and come out in the closet with the water heater.  From there it makes a bee line for the kitchen, goes under the fridge, behind the dishwasher, and then into the pan drawer under my stove.

Every day it poops in my muffin tin.

I used the muffin tins the other day to make blueberry muffins and so the tins were out for a wash.  You know what the mouse did?

It pooped in my loaf pan.

It pooped in my loaf pan.

I pulled that out to wash it.  This morning, I pulled the drawer open to take a peek, and what did I see in my other loaf pan?

TWO POOPS.

TWO POOPS

The daily deposition of that dessicated black grain is really getting to me.  I think the two poops were made out of spite for the fact that I chased the mouse through the house last night.

I have NO IDEA what this mouse is eating.  My floors are swept daily, and there are no crumbs behind the dishwasher.  My recycling bin, next to the stove, is full of clean plastic.  My pantry is impregnable and shows no signs of breach.  But every freaking day I have mouse poop in my drawer.

This is a call for vengeance.  If the mouse cannot be repelled, then it will be beaten back.  The Pie has convinced me finally to pick up some mouse traps.  Should I be successful I will look upon the body of my beaten foe and rejoice.

More bulletins as events warrant.