BakingAh, baking!  This is where I totally feel at home in my kitchen.  I will choose baking over cooking any time that I am offered a choice.

One of my all-time favorite things to bake is banana bread.  We usually have bananas in the house, and it seems inevitable that one or two ripen up beyond what any of us will eat.  That’s when I know it is time to bring out my bread maker and my favorite banana bread recipe.

I suspect the reason the banana bread turns out so good is because the recipe includes sour cream (I’ve substituted plain yogurt with excellent results when I do not have sour cream).  The bread is moist and flavorful.  The recipe is titled simply “Banana Bread.”

Although there isn’t much wiggle room for experimentation with baking, the above mentioned banana bread tastes just as delicious when I add about 3/4 Cup of pumpkin to it.  I love pumpkin, and the combination of pumpkin and banana is quite wonderful.

For those who might want to know, my favorite recipe for banana bread comes from “The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook.”  The book has about 300 cooking recipes for bread makers, and every one I’ve tried has been wonderful.

Another thing I love to bake is cake.  Most birthdays I bake a cake instead of buy one from the store.  Homemade cakes are so much tastier than box or bought cakes.

One thing I can’t stand about box cakes (by that, I mean where you by the cake mix in a box, then add a few wet ingredients) is that they are so light and fluffy.  Yes, I know a lot of people like their cakes this way, but not me.  I want my cake to be dense.

There are a few reasons for this.  First, I simply prefer the denser texture when eating the cake.  Second, I like to eat my cake in a bowl, with milk poured over it.  Dense cake stays together in the milk, while fluffly cake practically disintegrates the moment it gets wet.

My family adores waffles and pancakes.  These are weekend breakfast staples.  I suppose that some may argue that these two items qualify more as cooking than baking, but I don’t think so.   I might mix things up with my pancake or waffle batter by adding some pumpkin, or sprinkling frozen blueberries or chocolate chips on top.  Yum!

Bread is also a favorite of mine.  I wish I could eat bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  I’ve made bread both by hand using the refrigerator method (I’ll write about that the next time I do it) or with my bread maker.  Fresh bread out of the oven is something each of us should enjoy every now and then, if not more often.

But, sadly, one can’t live by bread and desserts alone (although my children would try if I let them).  That is the reason why I am adding cooking to my list of skills, along with baking.

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