After a weekend spent connecting with a few hundred people who wrote me after having read my Medium review, people in Paris, Italy, Denmark, and Australia, who shared my distaste over the Kinfolk culture that breeds infection (they are a contagion, I said to my business partner today. They make Gwyneth Paltrow look like trailer park whilst waxing poetic with their decorated beards and expensive boots!), settling in with Joanne Chang’s Flour felt like a homecoming. I let down my guard, was less skeptical, because I knew I was dealing with a methodical trained baker, as opposed to a slew of moneyed artists projecting an unrealistic lifestyle under the guise of authenticity. I first encountered Chang and her infectious passion for baking when I reviewed her second cookbook, Flour, Too. I feel in love with her writing and the way in which she completely changed the course of her life, a story that falls in rhythm with the course of events in which I’ve found myself over the past year.
Flour is a true delight for anyone who gets gleeful when flipping through pages of sugar. Crisp pies, tiered cakes, cookies and whipped pastry — you’ll find everything you love about baking and sweets in this accessible cookbook.
Over the years, I’ve made banana loaves, ad nauseum. However, Joanne’s recipe is amazing in the sense that the loaf is light, not as dense and meaty as banana loaves tend to be. Incorporating air into the eggs does this, and the only adjustment I needed to make was swapping nuts for chocolate.
Suffice it to say, the loaf was a success. My business partner and I gobbled down our hot slices with black coffee, while working on projects. Now that is what I call a gathering.
INGREDIENTS: Adapted from Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe
1 2/3 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (230 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) canola or other flavourless oil
3 1/2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups or 340 grams mashed bananas)
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Position the rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 325°F (165°C). Butter and flour your pan of choice. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, or a handheld mixer, beat together the sugar and eggs on medium speed for about 5 minutes for the stand mixer, and about 8 minutes for a handheld mixer; or until light and fluffy.
With the machine on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil. Do not pour the oil in all at once. Add it slowly so it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn’t deflate the air you have just beaten into the batter. Adding the oil should take about 1 minute.
Add the bananas, creme fraiche/sour cream, and vanilla, then continue to mix on low speed just until combined.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture and nuts just until thoroughly combined. No flour streaks should be visible and the chocolate chips should be evenly distributed.