The Banana Bread Hack

You know by now that I am a fan of food made from scratch ingredients. Usually boxed food or “cheat and heats” just don’t hold a candle to food cooked with love and real ingredients.

I can’t now recall how a box of Pillsbury Quick Bread banana nut mix made its way into the pantry. Perhaps in the middle of the night it snuck in on little cat feet? Or maybe in an unconscious daze I plucked it off a shelf at the grocery store. Regardless, there it sat in the cupboard and I was curious to try it. I baked it up and the first bite pleasantly surprised me. Often boxed cake mixes are overly sweet and the textures are boring. But not this one. The banana flavor was concentrated and not overpowered by sweetness. The bread had a nice crumbly texture, like a cross between a cake and a quick bread. If someone told me this imposter loaf was homemade I would have believed them.

Now I was curious. Who else made banana bread/muffin mix? I found boxes of Krusteaz and Betty Crocker. Krusteaz won by a long shot. Sorry Betty! But who was the clear winner now – Pillsbury or Krusteaz? I liked Pillsbury’s banana bread the best, mostly because of its light and crumbly texture. Krusteaz had a heavier, spongy texture but it was delicious too. Either way, eating minimal effort banana bread with my morning coffee is such a treat.

The Krusteaz box had a recipe for banana chocolate chip cookies. I gave them a whirl and they were similar to a classic chocolate chip cookie but with subtle banana flavor. I made one batch each with the Krusteaz and Pillsbury mixes. I preferred the Krusteaz cookies but Pillsbury’s were certainly good. The recipe called for sugar but I feared they would be too sweet so omitted it. I added vanilla too.

Quick Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box banana bread/muffin mix
¾ cup softened butter
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
Nuts, optional

Blend the butter with the mix until all the lumps disappear; I used my hands. Add the egg and the vanilla, mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips/nuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350⁰ for about 15 minutes. The longer they bake the less banana flavor they have. Because I don’t like things to be too sweet I used 70% dark chocolate chips.

There could be endless variations to both the cookies and the bread. White chocolate chips and macadamia nuts? Figs and hazelnuts? Fancy! Maybe it’s okay to cheat sometimes, especially when a few real scratch ingredients and a big dose of love are added in.