This photo has been used for illustrative purpose only.
A lot of people find baking therapeutic. Going through familiar gestures of measuring and pouring and mixing helps to bring about a sense of calm. Also, let’s not forget the tantalising scents that spread through the house after.
There’s no doubt about it: Baking is quite meditative.
If you are itching to bake something, how about trying out this easy recipe of banana bread? This recipe requires no ingredients other than the pantry staples. There is no challenging technique in the method and no out-of-the-ordinary equipment used.
Also, it is quite a crowd-pleasure.
There are almost always a few over-ripe bananas at home, waiting to be converted into smoothies, or used in pancakes. This time, use them to make this delicious banana bread.
1 3/4 cups flour, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 to 3 bananas)
1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts (See note)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter the bottom and sides of a 5-by-9-by-3-inch loaf pan, then dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and reserve.
3. In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly combined.
4. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in thirds, alternating with mashed bananas and beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing only until just combined. Fold in walnuts.
5. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until nicely browned and a tester inserted into the centre of the bread comes out fairly clean (with bananas, this bread is moister than most). Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
Note: To toast walnuts, place the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, and cook, stirring (or shaking the pan frequently) until they just begin to release their fragrance, about 3 to 4 minutes (alternately, preheat oven to 325 degrees, spread the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake, stirring often, for 4 to 6 minutes).
Banana bread is remarkably adaptable. Add a half cup of a whole range of ingredients: chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, unsweetened cocoa, shredded coconut, pitted and chopped dates, or chopped (and toasted) pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachios or unsalted peanuts.
If you have unflavoured yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk, add 1/4 cup after beating in the eggs, which will make the cake more moist and rich.
No brown sugar? Just use 2/3 cup granulated sugar instead. If you have whole wheat flour on hand, substitute 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Or follow the directions as is.
Sweet potatoes bring more natural sweetness and tenderness to this loaf than pumpkin, and a combination of oil and yoghurt keeps the slices from drying out.
If you want the perfect dessert to feed a crowd without breaking the bank, make a sheet cake. These recipes for candy bar sheet cake and lemon buttermilk sheet cake will surely be a hit at your next party.
Quick breads like this cherry almond sweet bread can be served as breakfast, brunch or dessert. You can be serve this sweet bread plain or with a light glaze or frosting.
If you are bored at home and don’t feel like watching another movie on TV or reading another book, here are some activities you can try to pass the time.
After a coronavirus-fuelled wave of panic-buying briefly left Hong Kong's supermarket shelves bare, residents are turning to local producers for fresh food in a city almost entirely reliant on imports.
"He grabs your finger, the poor little thing and holds on to the plastic, not on to you. But at least that's another day over, you have to think of it like that otherwise you get depressed," says the 34-year-old.