{Dearly Dreaming Dorie} Discovering rum in baking

Black and White Banana Bread

I’ve never used rum in any pastry before. It’s not because we don’t like alcoholic beverages in the house or anything like that. I admit that I don’t drink, but we do use wine in cooking often enough. All this time, I’ve either been too lazy to go out of my way just to buy rum, or I forget about it whenever I am in the Supermarket. I’ve got a bunch of lame excuses, I know. But in my defense, I had no idea what I was missing out on.

Apparently rum is a magical ingredient in baking.

After making this, I went over all my cookbooks just to track down all the recipes I ignored because they had the word ‘rum’ in them. Then I proceeded to mark all the interesting recipes now that I know better. Rum-Vanilla Cakes sound divine for holiday baking, but I thought I should write about the Rum-Banana Bread first as it has a special spot in my heart for being the recipe that helped me discover this intoxicating little ingredient.

Rum

I’m glad Banana Breads are an all-year-round kind of bread. I like it a lot, but I constantly try to look for some modification or play on it that makes it a little more unusual. Rum-Banana Bread isn’t unusual at all, except I came across one in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook that is marbled with some chocolate as well. That’s like hitting two birds with one stone, because for one thing, I haven’t tried marbling anything and was excited to give it a go.

Yet the chocolate marble isn’t even what made this bread extra special– it was the slight yet unmistakably lovely hint of rum and lemon that permeates both the sense of smell and taste.

This is how I handle a cornmeal craving

Corn & Pepper Corn Muffins

You can ask me but I honestly can’t give you answer: Why on earth, of all things, would I have a sudden urge to stuff myself with things made of cornmeal? I don’t know, I don’t know. However I have to be honest with you… I liked it.

I’m glad that I’m having these kinds of cravings to balance out my propensity to stock my pantry with cornmeal, even before I finish the old packet. I’m hoping to correct that, but I cannot be blamed for all the baked goodies I imagine myself making every time I pass by a box of these yellow sandy crystals. It seems only logical to make sure I have enough cornmeal to make all of them.

Next to regular old cornbread, I figured the easiest thing that would vanquish my craving would be to make muffins. It’s basically a one-bowl deal– mix, scoop, and pop into the oven. I’ve made a couple of cornmeal quick breads before, and all of them turned out really well– favourites in one way or another actually. I wanted to go find another recipe to add to my growing list of well-loved cornmeal treats.

{Dearly Dreaming Dorie} How Peanut Butter Crisscrosses invaded my life

PB Crisscrosses!

As a child, I used to hate peanut butter. I don’t know if it’s because of the way that it sticks to the roof of my mouth, or how the very gooey brands tend to make a mess when spread on a piece of toast. I’ve always found it odd since I actually like peanuts a lot. This passiveness toward peanut butter extended until my teenage years, and I only “rediscovered” it, if you will, in the past two years.

Ever since I started long-distance running, a lot of other runners advised me to have a cup of coffee with a peanut butter sandwich and a banana hours before each race. Apparently they help keep you energized while you tackle the long road ahead. I had no problems with the coffee and banana part, but I was skeptical about the peanut butter sandwiches. After that first bite however, I began to wonder why it was I did not like peanut butter in the first place. Nowadays one of my favourite granola bar flavours is peanut butter.

peanut butter!

It’s a good thing my Dad is a big fan of the stuff, because he makes sure we always have a bottle stowed in the pantry. It’s useful for when a craving hits, or for when you finally embrace your love for peanut butter and decided to make something out of it. But why is it that the first thing I always think about making with an ingredient I have never used before is cookies?

{Dearly Dreaming Dorie} The most amazing Mango Bread

Fresh Mango Bread

I’ve been waiting for mango season to roll around, and in my neck of the woods, it finally has! One of the best perks about living in a tropical country is that we’ve got mangoes all year round, however the best and sweetest of the crop are harvested around this time. The mangoes here in the Philippines are gorgeously shaped, yellow and very fragrant; with an addictive sweetness that makes them extremely hard to resist.

mangoes

Mangoes are one of my favourite fruits in the whole universe; second only to Chinese Honey Oranges, or ponkan. As a child though, mangoes were my uncontested favourite. I would often have it with my bowl of rice, kind of like Japanese maki only in a big messy pile. Now that I think about it, maybe this was what paved the way to my intense love for Japanese cuisine, especially the sushi with bursts of mango within. Is my mango-adoring childhood one of the reasons why yellow is my favourite colour? Quite possibly.

But I digress.

I only hope you do not think I am biased when I say, this is one of the best quick breads I have ever had in my life! I want to point out, it is simply the truth.

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