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March 9, 2013

High English Tea with Chocolate Banana Quickbread

With the theme of "Roots," the assignment for March's Food Bloggers Los Angeles meeting was to bring a dish that's related to your ethnic heritage.  Given our diversity, this was sure to result in a fabulous spread.  True to form, there were those that went generations back to a foreign country, and a few who showed their heritage in the form of frozen mixed vegetables.  

I am a true mutt, with English, Irish, German and other indeterminate genetic roots.  I had to pick one, so I chose English, conceiving of a figgy bread pudding with my homemade chocolate banana bread as a base.  I got as far as the bread, but ran out of time for the pudding.  So, I rethought, and pulled out one of my favorite Longaberger baskets to make my own high tea.  To satisfy the appetite, I included dried figs, dried dates, lemon curd and marscapone for the quickbread.  To wash it down, I threw in bags of cucumber, chocolate hazelnut decaf, and passionfruit teas.

Our discussion topic centered around monetizing our blogs, a very important but daunting subject.  Listening to the group's varied experiences and suggestions again spurred me to return to blogging on a regular basis.

Banana Chocolate Quickbread

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan. Combine the sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed, scraping the bowl several times, until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the bananas, egg, and vanilla and continue beating and scraping the bowl until well mixed, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to blend. Add to the banana mixture and beat on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bowl several times, until the batter is well mixed.  Add the cocoa to the and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until well mixed.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes or longer. Let cool for ten minutes, then invert to remove from pan.

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