Peanut butter and I go way back, we share some memorable history together. It all began with love on first sight, then we completely lost contact for a while, to finally put a happy ending to the story. So what had happened? Long story…
Seven years back – to the day! – I was attending a large trade fair in Munich. The company I worked for at the time was notorious famed for their excessive parties, yet I felt wiped out and not in the mood for a long night out. Who knew, that I was destined to fall in love with “my man”, soul mate and best friend there? On the flip side, destiny got it all wrong and screwed up on the prior day: Just on the day before we met, Oliver had quit his job in Munich and signed a new contract with his old company in the States. Now all we had left were two weeks [in denial]. But hey, it’s amazing, how much can happen within two weeks! We found out we had studied in the very same building for several years, knowing the same people and enjoying coffee in the same cafeteria! It was fast-forward from then on: I met his parents, he met mine, his parents met my parents, the second week he moved in with me… Ok, you get the picture. Head over heels. But the day of his departure came up quickly and we both didn’t have a clue if a long distance relationship was going to work out. My phone bills reached astronomical heights and Deutsche Telekom shares went up. While we were planning my first visit, my parents surprised me with a ticket to Atlanta for the 23rd of December. Wow, my first trip to the US of A! I would spend a wonderful Christmas time with Oliver, imagine my happiness!
The pre-Christmas time flew by, uncountable plans were devised and before I knew it, I set foot on American soil and embraced my sweetheart. On the 24th he showed me around town and I insisted on trying all kinds of typical local food (sorry, grits I couldn’t do). I do remember my first everything bagel with jalapeno spread, my first fried green tomatoes and a tasty Caesar’s salad. We did some groceries to survive the upcoming holidays and I had my very first peanut butter sandwich with grape jelly – skeptical at first, then self-indulgent blissfully happily munching one slice after another. Peanut butter, where were you hiding from me all those years? How could I have missed something so yummy all my life? Oliver had to literally pull me away from my new-found passion, letting me in on his secret plan for Christmas eve. He had booked a table at a classy restaurant in town, so I decided to not spoil my appetite and continue with peanut butter sandwiches the next day.
The evening was fantastic. A multi course dinner at an extraordinary place along the Chattahoochee River, which we left in utter happiness. Until I woke up in the middle of the night with an unbearable desire to run to the bathroom and rid my body of whatever needed to go. Oliver followed me shortly after and we spent our second night together with what felt like the worst case of food poisoning I experienced so far. Why? We never found out. Here is another minor detail: his apartment had only one bathroom…?! After that night I had come to realize a couple of points:
Throwing up à deux is anything but fun.
Every apartment needs two bathrooms.
Falling asleep in the bathroom saves time and way.
Barfing Coke is no fun, especially if it still has gas in it.
Peanut butter can give you the worst aftertaste EVER.
Oliver’s kind neighbors saved our lives and supplied us with salted pretzels and black tea over the next two days, because we were not able to move, let alone leave the house. Just writing these lines gives me the shakes. The food poisoning only stayed for two days, my newly attained antipathy towards peanut butter was here to stay. No peanut sauce for chicken skewers, no peanut butter cookies, seriously a hint of peanut butter was all it took to make me back out. For almost 7 years now! But then, out of the blue, some weeks ago I felt the ultimate urge to buy a jar of peanut butter again. I was excited and could hardly wait to open the jar and eat it by the spoon. No idea where it came from and what triggered the change of mind, but I feel deeply relieved that it didn’t turn into a lifelong aversion. All adventurous again, I’m discovering sweet recipes that work nicely with a subtle flavor of peanut butter. My beloved banana bread was a successful starting point, with a bit of tweaking. The flavorful bread gets better day by day, a new everyday favorite.
Whisk together in a large bowl the eggs, butter, peanut butter and sugar (all at room temperature), then fold in the squashed banana and a tablespoon of sunflower oil. Mix lightly.
In a separate bowl, combine milk and baking soda, in another, the flour with the baking powder.
Now add to the large bowl parts of the milk mixture alternating with parts of the flour mix, until everything is combined. This way you can quickly judge the consistency of the dough: add some more milk, if the batter is too firm, an extra tablespoon of flour, if too runny. Don’t overdue the batter.
Pour the batter into a buttered and bread crumbs dusted or paper-lined muffin tins and bake at 180°C (350°F) in a preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the cakes. Poke muffins with a wooden skewer to see if they are done – the skewer should come out quite dry and clean. Remove muffins from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes, then carefully turn the muffins out of the tin.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar, once completely cooled down.
Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Recipe source: own creation
Prep time: 10min., baking: 25-45min., depending on size
Ingredients (yields one small cake, 17cm (6,5") in diameter and two muffin-sized ones):
75g peanut butter
3 mid-sized mashed ripe bananas
1 tbsp sunflower oil
125 ml milk
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
decoration: confectioner's sugar for dusting