Tasty Holiday

November brings with it the beginning of the holiday entertaining season. To help you get ready for it, we're offering a pair of recipes that will take you from breakfast to dessert and in between. The first is a great recipe for banana bread that bursting with banana flavor. You can add nuts or chocolate chips to it, but it's really wonderful as is. Enjoy a slice for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

Banana Banana Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

  • Yields: 1 loaf
  • Preparation Time: 80 minutes

This second recipe is great for an elegant end to a dinner party or family gathering. It can be doubled easily for larger events. It's very special and makes for perfect holiday endings.

Milk Chocolate Caramel Mousse

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 11/3 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 7 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat to an amber colored caramel. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/3 cup of heavy cream. Return to low heat and cook, stirring, until any hardened bits of caramel are dissolved. Immediately pour it over the chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for 1 minute and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is fully emulsified. Add the vegetable oil and whisk until fully combined and creamy. Allow to cool for five minutes or until tepid.

Whip the remaining cup of heavy cream to soft peaks and keep it chilled until the chocolate mixture has cooled down. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream, being careful not to over-fold. Spoon or pipe the mousse into 4 martini glasses. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to set.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time