I believe those of us who love to cook are deeply generous people – we want to make others happy by sharing the wondrous creations that come out of our kitchens. We’re hopeless pleasers who fret if we think our food isn’t perfect, because we want others to love our food – and us. Think about it. Have you ever met a cook who doesn’t like to share?
That is certainly true for me on Valentine’s Day. I’m not going to be writing poetry or composing songs to show my love and admiration. (For this my husband is deeply grateful, I’m sure.) I may wander up to the local card shop later today and find the perfect card from the slightly picked-over racks (gosh, it kinda snuck up on me this year. Let’s face it, it always does.) But I’m definitely going to be baking a little something for breakfast in bed. Something with chocolate and walnuts… served with piping hot coffee.
Today, my Valentine was treated to this Chocolate-Banana Walnut Crumb Cake, a slight variation from a recipe found in Ina Garten’s most recent book, Make it Ahead. I tinkered with the recipe a bit – with my husband’s tastes in mind – because he is a guy who loves banana walnut bread. And loves it even more if chocolate is involved. As I write this, I think he’s on his third piece. So I suspect he’s feeling loved and appreciated.
As I was assembling the ingredients before dawn this morning, I realized how many of my most-loved, most-shared recipes are variations on Ina’s. You know the oft-asked question: “If you could have dinner with any person, who would it be?” Ina would be on my list. I’d have her bring the cosmos, and we’d talk about butter, brownies and that kitchen-in-a-barn she built in her back garden.
So dear readers, because I’m a gal who loves to share, I’m going to give away a copy of Ina’s latest book. I think it is one of my favorites – as making dishes ahead is one of my go-to cooking strategies. It’s the least I can do to say “thank you” to you wonderful readers… who continually make my days with your support and comments.
Here is the deal. You have three chances to enter the giveaway:
- 1. Leave a comment below.
- 2. Follow Bourbon and Brown Sugar by Email
- 3. Follow Bourbon and Brown Sugar via Instagram
I’m sorry, but you must be a resident of the United States or Canada to enter. Entries close at midnight on Wednesday, February 18th, and I’ll choose a winner on Thursday the 19th.
Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day – love to all, mb
- For the cake:
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 mashed bananas (you can mash them on a cutting board with a fork)
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- for the streusel topping:
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks, chopped
- ½ cup walnuts, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 square baking pan.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low, beat in the egg, vanilla, sour cream and mix until combined.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. When just combined, add the ½ cup walnuts.
- Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
- For the streusel, all all the ingredients but the walnuts together in the bowl of the standing mixer, and mix until a crumbly topping forms. Sprinkle it evenly over the top of the batter, then sprinkle the walnuts on top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Serve warm.
Adapted, just barely, from Make it Ahead by Ina Garten