Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Style Sourdough Banana Bread

One of the sometimes slightly maddening fun things about sourdough is that to keep it bubbling away you have to keep feeding it.  And, unless you're giving everyone you know, and a few you don't know, a starter of their own, you need to find ways to use the stuff.  It makes you get in the kitchen and cook!! And, unlike your family which does the same thing, it doesn't bitch and whine and moan about what you cook! 

Today I made some Sourdough Banana Bread but since tis the season and all that, I wanted to kick it up a little and spice that bad baby out.  Turns out, spiced out Holiday Style sourdough bread kicks some serious ass.

*1/3 cup butter, softened (there actually IS a line on the butter wrapper for 1/3 cup! Who knew?!?)
*1 cup sugar - I used demerara sugar, but if you don't have that light brown sugar will do
*1 egg
*1 cup sourdough starter
*1 cup mashed bananas (approx. 2 large or 3 small bananas)
*2 1/4 cup self-rising flour
*1/4 tsp salt
*2 TB ginger powder
*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Cream together butter and sugar.  Add vanilla extract, starter, and mashed bananas.  Mix together until just blended.
2) Sift together flour, salt, ginger, and cinnamon.  Add this to the other ingredients and blend well.
3) Pour contents into a greased bread pan (or two, do NOT over fill this unless you want a mess!) and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done.
4) Serve warm with a nice pat of butter on top. 

Review: This turned out really well, aside from overflowing and making a mess in the oven.  Oh well, c'est la vie.  It is meant to be eaten, not gawked at, and it is still great for that.  Next time though I'll divvy this up into a couple of pans.  If you have a knack for it, this would also make a great muffin!
The flavor came out really nice.  The ginger hits your tongue just enough to let you know it is there, but not so much that you're going to freak out about it being spicy.  Delish. 
Try it and let me know what you think!

~Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sourdough Sugar Cookies

Just in time for the holidays, I'm going to share with you my recipe for Sourdough Sugar Cookies.  I know we're all busy, so I'll make this quick and easy for you with a little review of the cookies at the end, ok?

1 stick butter, softened (if you use margarine I'll have to slap you!)
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Approx. 1/2 cup sugar for sprinkling - I used colored sugar to zhush it up some.

1) In a small bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg.
2) In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Add vanilla extract, egg, and starter. Once well blended, add in the sifted/whisked dry ingredients.
3) Drop by the teaspoonful onto a well greased cookie sheet.  (*Tip - I've found that melon ballers are the perfect size for this!  Easy peasy and now you've actually got a good reason for having a melon baller!*)
4) Press down a bit on cookie dough ball with a fork dipped in water to give it the nice criss-cross pattern.  You'll want to re-dip that fork after about two presses or else the dough will stick to the fork.
5) Sprinkle liberally with sugar. 
6) Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until edges are just brown. 

7) Let sit on a kitchen island or counter top to cool.  Watch out for Mastiffs and children during this cooling period. 

Review: The boyos loved these as you can see in the photos, so there ya go, it is a win and kid-approved.  However, my boyos are used to sweets being homemade.  If you've already got a taste for store bought or pre-packaged tubes of sugar cookie dough, you're going to try one of these and think "Man, that has a twang!"  ... Well, yea, it does.  That is because it is made with Sourdough silly!
This is definitely a neat way to use some of your sourdough starter, and I'll definitely be making these again. 
The dough spread out some but not too much in the oven, which is nice.  Just that right amount of spreading, as opposed to running off everywhere like batter. 
One change I might make for the next time is that I made these with my standby flour blend: a mixture of unbleached white and whole wheat.  I think these might be better with just white flour, but that is really a personal taste. 

Try it and let me know what you think!