Trying to be Trendy- Rice Cooker Cooking

I’m not a big fan of trends when it comes to clothes, decorating, hair styles and the like. However, I am a pushover for food trends. Lately I’ve seen many recipes for baking in a rice cooker. Since I already have a rice cooker, I had to try this technique.

Since I also had a few over-ripe bananas in the kitchen I picked this banana bread recipe from Food.com. Here’s what happened:

The recipe itself is just a basic muffin or quick bread. First, all the dry ingredients get mixed on one bowl.

The recipe itself is just a basic muffin or quick bread. First, all the dry ingredients get mixed on one bowl.

 

In another bowl, all the wet ingredents get mixed together. I smashed my bananas in a measuring cup; three medium bananas gave me just about one and a half cups.

In another bowl, all the wet ingredents get mixed together. I smashed my bananas in a measuring cup; three medium bananas gave me just about one and a half cups.

 

I coated the rice cooker pot with a little pan spray and dumped in the batter. And now, we wait.

I coated the rice cooker pot with a little pan spray and dumped in the batter. And now, we wait.

While our experimental banana bread (hopefully) cooks, there is a question we should ponder. Why bake in a rice cooker when the house has an oven? Well, what if you don’t have an oven? The concealed heating element of a rice cooker makes them okay for use on many college dorm rooms (check with the RA, though…) Even at home, there are plenty of situations when oven baking might not be an option. Imagine the oven is occupied with roasting a main course and you want some bread to go with it but dare not run to the bakery while the oven is on.  Or, perhaps you want to bake something nice to bring to a friend, but it is July and the weather is hot and you do not want to heat up the kitchen.  Maybe you want to introduce a child in your life to the awesomeness of DIY baked goods but you can no longer get incandescent bulbs for your Easy Bake® oven in the USA. (If you click the links you’ll find more rice cooker baking recipes. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but that coffee cake looks amazing!)

So, what happened? As noted in the recipe, the rice cooker shut itself off after a few minutes. As further directed, I waited about five minutes and clicked it on again assuming the residual heat inside the appliance would keep the baking action going. After all, that’s how my electric oven works. I will say that it was a tedious process to get up, re-start the cooker, listen for the “click” when it shut off, set a timer for 5 minutes, then repeat the process. If I had been doing other things in the kitchen, though, it would probably have been less of a bother. (I admit it, I was looking at cat memes on the internets in another room  ) Next time I’ll either plan to be in the kitchen during baking or have the rice cooker in whichever room I plan to be in. Hey, there’s another cool thing about rice cooker baking!

The end result was quite lovely to look at.

It took about an hour. The recipe gave an estimated 90 minute cooking time in a rice cooker with a "low" setting. My suggestion is to start checking after 45 minutes or so.

It took about an hour. The recipe gave an estimated 90 minute cooking time in a rice cooker with a “low” setting. My suggestion is to start checking after 45 minutes or so.

Wedges seemed to be the most practical serving shape. Look how dashing this banana bread is on a festive ladybug plate!

Wedges seemed to be the most practical serving shape. Look how dashing this banana bread is on a festive ladybug plate!

Mr. Food It Yourself and I tried a sample after 20 minutes of cooling inside the pot and another five or so minutes on the cooling rack. Mr. Food It Yourself declared the banana bread “tasty”. I agree. It was light and even in texture despite the cyclic temperature within the cooker. The recipe seems quite easy to adapt, also. Apple sauce, pear puree, or cooked and mashed squash could easily substitute for the banana.

I’m very glad I tried this particular food trend. I may have to look for more “excuses” to bake without my oven. What food trends have you tried to DIY? Did they work? Share in the comments section!

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