You know what I hate? I hate when people tell me to do things. Wait no, let me rephrase that. I hate when my mother tells me to do things. Not because I don't love her or wouldn't do anything to make her happy, but because I just don't like being told to do things. I do things when I want to do them; when I feel like doing them. That's just how I function.
And what's worse than being told to do things, is being told to do them over and over again. For some reason, my mother thinks that if I haven't gotten up to do the thing that she just asked me to do in that exact moment, then clearly, I haven't heard her. So she asks again. And again. And again.
I'm pretty lenient with most things. Like washing dishes, or doing the laundry, or just other chores around the house. But the one thing that I absolutely cannot tolerate is being told to cook or bake.
Baking is like art. You don't rush an artist, so you don't rush a baker. I admit, sometimes I'm annoying because I excitedly tell my mother about a recipe, and tell her that I'm going to make it the next day, and then I don't. (And that's usually when she gets annoying and starts bugging me to make it). But she doesn't understand that the reason I don't make it is not because I'm lazy or because I'm too preoccupied with Facebook or because the sun has already set and I can't get any good pictures. Although that is sometimes kind of the reason. But the bigger reason is because my heart just isn't in it. And I won't bake if I'm doing it just to throw it in the oven and get it over with. That's just not right.
I could have easily thrown this bread in the oven and got it over with yesterday, or the day before that, or the day before that. Or the day before that. It would have put an end to my mother's constant pleas and my developing headache. But I didn't. Instead, I waited until today, because today, I felt like baking. Ironically, after all that begging and bugging, my mom ended up not liking the bread. Compared to the pear cranberry bread I made last week, she thought this one was too dry and didn't have much flavor. I have to say I agree.
There was nothing to add to the flavor besides the bananas and the vanilla extract and those just weren't enough. I had a bit of a guilty conscience about the dryness because I kind of used a whisk to mix the flour into the batter instead of an electric mixer. The instructions didn't necessarily say to use the electric mixer, but I still couldn't help but think if it would have made a difference if I did.
But honestly, even if the bread had come out moist, it wouldn't have made me any fonder of the banana cranberry combination. Some things just don't work together. Cranberries and oats work. Cranberries and pears work. But banana bread should just stay banana bread.
Unless chocolate wants to get involved. Chocolate is always the exception.
Cranberry Oat Banana Bread
adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting pan
1/4 cup rolled oats, plus a handful for topping
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
pinch of vanilla powder
2 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 and 1/8 cup dried cranberries (soaked in warm water, for 1/2 an hour)
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Lightly grease a 12 x 3 inch loaf pan and dust with a tablespoon of flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Pour the buttermilk in a small bowl. To the buttermilk, add the vegetable oil and vanilla, and mix until combined.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs, light brown sugar and white sugar together until thick and pale, approximately 3-5 minutes. Mix in mashed bananas and buttermilk mixture. In two batches, add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined, making sure not to overmix. Fold in cranberries.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Top with a handful of rolled oats. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Invert onto a wire rack to cool. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to preserve freshness.