Confessions of a High Altitude Baker

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s 57 degrees outside here in Colorado, and the temperature in my wee little town home is even warmer than that. Still, I’m taking the opportunity to rock my fleece pajama pants because…well, I’m tired of waiting for colder weather. IT IS TIME, ALREADY! (Remind me I said this when I’m grumbling about the snow in March, okay? Or maybe don’t, if you value our friendship.)

Also, titling blog posts is hard work. Where are the servants to feed you grapes and bring you beverages when you really need them? Oh, they’re in Egypt a hundred million years ago? Okay then.

Cold weather used to rile me up. I mean, I was one step away from having a creepy stalker wall dedicated to tracking weather patterns and avoiding the winter mayhem. I wish I was joking. But as a stress baker, I’ve learned that there is a definite silver lining to the cooler air and that is not sweating my face off whilst baking up the latest Pinterest recipe.

Many friends who know that I like to bake ask me about how to get good results in our high altitude home. My response to them varies, but I’m going to let you in on my little secret: I have no earthly idea. As long as my creations taste okay, I don’t really care that much if they aren’t as fluffy as their non-high altitude counterparts. Hey, if a cake falls, that just leaves more room for frosting, right? Most of my recipes work okay and if they don’t, I generally don’t take the time to figure out how to fix them. As long as Pinterest is still a recipe mecca and there’s always something new to try, what do I care?

See how helpful I can be to my friends? (I’m a treat.)

I am glad to tell you, though, that this year I have nailed down my go-to banana bread recipe. It will pretty much change your life. This shining representation of all that is right in the baking world came about from two different pinned recipes.

Sometimes I am so impressed with myself.

IMG_3250The banana bread is really easy and made with ingredients that I usually have on hand (those black bananas in the freezers look gross, but they really bring the flava’ flave). The streusel that tops it came from a zucchini bread recipe that I found–the bread flopped and I had all this leftover streusel. And ding! An idea was born.

So, in sharing this recipe with you let’s mark the slate clean, okay? Okay.

Amy’s Banana Bread Recipe
Serves 1 loaf or 12 medium/large muffins

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In one bowl combine:
1/2 stick of butter, softened
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
2/3 cup sugar
In another bowl combine:
1-1/3 cup all-purpose flour (I’ve subbed in white whole wheat flour and it was denser, but still tasted great. I’d recommend only subbing in half, if you want to give it a try.)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional, but I always do it)
1 tsp vanilla (this is approximate. I do a “splash”.)
Optional: add a handful of chocolate chips or nuts or whatever you like here if you want…I don’t usually ’cause the crumb mixture has them.
Combine wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just mixed. Pour in greased pan or lined muffin tins. Top with crumb mixture (see below). Bake for 15-20 minutes. Check muffins about 10 minutes into baking and add more crumb mixture if needed (when the mixture rises, there’s more surface area on top to cover. Unless you’re into moderation on these things…which I’m not. Go big or go home.). Muffins/bread are done when a toothpick comes out clean.
IMG_3459Chocolate Chip Crumb Mixture
2/3 cups old-fashioned or quick oats
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (I used dark)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips (add more if you need to. I’m not judging.)
Optional: add finely chopped nuts. I don’t because…yuck…nuts.
Combine all ingredients except butter and chocolate chips. Cut in butter with pastry cutter or two forks. Once mixed, stir in chocolate chips.
Bask in the glow of eternal baking fame. Stuff your face with the bread (I recommend letting them cool just a little first, though.)
If you’re interested, here are the links to the original recipes:

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