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pinned it. did it. {with liz}

liz lamoreux

Ellie and I made banana bread this weekend, and I loved it so much I knew I had to come and tell you all about it and add my own "Pinned It. Did It." column this week. (Meg will be back with another one next week. Read past columns here.)

Ellie is a bit obsessed with making banana bread. At some point last spring, we made some from a mix and now she tells me about every three weeks, "I think it's time to make more banana bread." And we do. But often from a mix while changing things up (like using peanut oil or adding our own bananas etc).

But in my quest to do things a wee bit healthier around here and cook from scratch more, I went to Pinterest to find a recipe.

my "sweet things" pinboard 
(thinking I might want this from Pottery Barn as I do more Pinterest-inspired cooking)

But first I got very distracted by this. (Because wouldn't you?)

And then refocused on bread and found this recipe: Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

This one was also a contender: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

But the idea of swirling cinnamon won out, so I went with that first one. We followed the recipe but I also added 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Here's a glimpse into our adventure. One thing I love about baking is that, overall, it is often "toddler helper" friendly.

Clearly sampling the chocolate chips is a very good idea.

We used the Kitchenaid Mixer with paddle attachment for this recipe, being careful not to overmix the flour and baking soda. I like the way it mashed the bananas so well. And Ellie liked turning it off and on. But the batter photos were not appetizing, so I skipped those for this cute blue bowl filled with cinnamon sugar photo below.

Ellie wanted to try little tiny tastes of everything. She wasn't too fond of the flour (as predicted) but the cinnamon and sugar was a hit. After we mixed everything together, we stirred in the chocolate chips, and then it was time for the cinnamon + sugar mixture. Ellie was able to easily stir them together and then add 1/2 of it on top of 1/2 the batter, which became the middle of the loaf, and then the other half on the top of all the batter.

Next time I make this bread, here is what I will do differently: I would put about three-fourths of the cinnamon + sugar mixture into the middle of the bread. We put in about 1/2 (as Ellie is doing above), but this meant that we put a lot on the top. And all of it didn't absorb (as you can see in the top photo of this post). So we had that "too much cinnamon sugar on your cinnamon toast effect," and when I flipped it out of the pan, it went everywhere. BUT it did make a crust that was so darn yummy. I would also add only 2/3 (or even 1/2) cup of chocolate chips next time.

And, I learned that the melted chocolate chips plus all that cinnamon goodness on the top and inside made it harder to tell when the bread was done using the toothpick method. So I used the impromptu "might as well put a whole knife tip in there and see if it comes out clean" method, which was surprisingly effective.

It was so good. Like the best. Like you should take it to every party where you need to bring something because oh my goodness it is easy and people are going to love it.

This bread will be heavy in rotation now whenever bananas are starting to "go bad." I'd like to explore adding some new kinds of flours (like oat flour), but that is a whole new adventure and I'm still finding my map for that one.

One thing I know for sure: Pinterest is helping me get excited about cooking more. And now that it is cooling off in the afternoons, I'm starting to actually cook instead of just pin ideas. So stay tuned for more stories from the kitchen.

*****

A quick note about Pinterest: Over here in my corner, I'm one of the top 50 pinners in the world (seriously) and I'm trying to "use Pinterest for good." I really see it as a community of people trying to see the beauty and possibility in their lives. I'm adding a few new features here on my blog inspired by or directly about Pinterest as a way to invite others to look for this beauty within a social media community. I look forward to seeing how it all unfolds. Connect with me on Pinterest here. Read other "Pinned it. Did it." columns here.