Saturday, July 17, 2010

Slow-cooker Banana Bread

Whether you call it a slow-cooker or a Crock-Pot, these little appliances are the answer to cooking in hot weather. You do have to plan ahead a bit, but it's amazing what you can cook in one. When we're out traveling in our RV in hot weather I really hesitate to start up the oven as it puts a lot of heat out into the living area, and it can be really hard to get it cooled off again. Consequently, I don't bake much in the summer, and I start missing some of my favorite things. The craving for baked goodies and a hand full of overripe bananas resulted in a brain storm recently - slow-cooker banana bread! I didn't have a cook book along except for the Dutch oven cookbook we'd purchased recently at a state park visitor's center, so I started with that, adjusted the amounts a bit, and this is the result. It does take 3 hours to bake, but it doesn't heat up the house, and you can plug the pot in anywhere there's electricity. It was 104 outside the day I baked this (that's why I wasn't excited about cooking over hot coals!), so I plugged it in to the outlet on the side of the RV and let 'er bake!

Before you start mixing the batter, plug in a small (2 qt.) slow cooker, set to HIGH and spray with no-stick cooking spray. 

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. Smart Balance
2 eggs
1 c. mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large bananas)
1/2 t. each cinnamon and Bitters
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Cream together the sugar and Smart Balance, blend in and then beat each of the eggs. Stir in the banana and the salt and the spices. Sprinkle 3/4 c. flout over the mixture and stir it in. Sprinkle the remaining 1 c. flour and all the baking soda and baking powder over the mixture, then beat until thoroughly blended. Stir in the nuts, then pour the batter into the heated pot.

Cover with the lid and bake for 3 hours. Test with a knife or toothpick to be sure it's done in the middle before turning it out of the pot. This obviously does not yield the typical loaf shape. Slice it in half from top to bottom, the with the cut side down, make half circle slices. The resulting shape is pretty similar to a loaf slice that way. The top won't be brown as it does if cooked in the oven,  but the sides brown up pretty well, so you don't have the damp effect you get with a microwave baked product.

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