Hey, remember that dummy that gave up dessert for Lent last year? Oh right, that was me.
I was shockingly successful. I think I only screwed up twice - once at a girlfriend's bridal shower, and once when I completely forgot about Lent in a fit of hunger and ate a bag of peanut M&Ms.
This year I wised up. As some of you probably know, Lent started up again yesterday with Ash Wednesday, and I was smart enough to skip the food related sacrifices. It's just too hard when you write a cooking blog.
Instead of something food related, I gave up liquor and beer. Since I'm single and childless, a lot of my social life unfortunately still revolves around drinking at bars, which will make this somewhat tricky. Fortunately, I didn't give up wine, so I'm just going to look like a fancy, fancy person at bars from now until Easter. Quit giving me the side eye. As one of my favorite Miranda Lambert songs points out, Jesus drank wine too.
On a somewhat related note, did I ever tell you guys about the time I got escorted out of church on Ash Wednesday for disruptive behavior?
I was 4, and it was during Ash Wednesday Mass with my preschool class.
For some ridiculous reason, I found it unacceptable that the ashes were not pink, proceeded to have a meltdown right there during Mass, and had to leave. I'll probably get paid back for that unfortunate episode some day. I'm sure that my future children are going to be a real treat to be around.
Let's discuss this bread now. I adore a sweet, non-yeasted, banana bread as much as the next girl. I love making them to use up overripe bananas, but wanted to do something a bit different this time. I came across this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, and could not be more pleased with how it turned out.
On its own, this bread is soft and very slightly sweet, with a subtle banana flavor. After making this bread, I decided that it was destined for greater things than just toast, and came up with this sandwich. Take one bite, and you'll feel like Santa Claus. On Prozac. At Disneyland. Getting laid. (Maybe I should give up making Friends references for Lent instead...it has been 9 years.)
I don't know what this sandwich is. Breakfast? Lunch? A weird dessert-wich? It really doesn't matter. Go make it immediately.
Here's what you'll need:
1 cup lukewarm milk
3 cups bread flour (plus more as needed)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
1 medium-sized banana, sliced
Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mixing with a spoon to form a shaggy dough.
Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes, until smooth. You may need to add extra bread flour if the dough is too sticky to work with. I added approximately 1/3 cup of additional bread flour. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rest in a draft-free area for 1 hour.
Transfer the bread dough to a lightly-oiled work surface. Form it into a log, and place into a lightly-greased 8x4 metal bread pan. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with non-stick spray, and cover the bread pan. Allow the dough to rise in a draft-free area for 45-60 minutes, until it's full and rounded.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the bread has risen, remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 190 degrees. If the bread starts browning too quickly, tent it with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.
Admire your bread for awhile. Yay for working with yeast! So domestic of us, am I right?! Now, slice it up and make a sandwich:
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 slices of yeasted banana bread
1/2 ripe banana, sliced
Add half of the melted butter to a non-stick skillet, and heat over medium heat. Spread one side of one slice of bread with peanut butter and the other with Nutella. Layer bananas on the peanut butter side, and sandwich the two slices together. Brush the outer sides of the sandwich with the remaining melted butter, and cook in the skillet for a minute or two each side until golden brown. Cut in half, and serve immediately.
Source: Sandwich was my own hot mess of a creation, bread recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour