food: Oh hallelujah, our problems are solved.
Seriously, is there any other food item that you almost look forward to going a bit past its prime quite like a banana? I admit to cheating a bit on these and buying them in a “ripe banana” bag at the Safeway. They were discounted, though I don’t know why since they were still green when I brought them home and took 3 days to develop speckles. Even so, they were mainly being used for smoothies until I came home and got the slight sweet scent of bananas just turning and knew that it was time. Oh yes, Banana Bread was on.
As I suffer from too many cookbooks at home, my first resource for recipes is the internet, of course! But a few clicks around brought me to a recipe in a book that was sitting on my own shelf–and hadn’t yet made it into a box. I used the one in Baking Illustrated from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s a basic recipe for the most part, though has the addition of yogurt, which I’m not used to including. I also left out the nuts, since I didn’t have any in the pantry, but I’ve no real preference for or against crunch in my banana bread.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1 ¼ cups walnuts, chopped coarse
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 ½ cups)
- ¼ cup (or 4 tablespoons) plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
- ¾ stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350° F (175° C) degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
- Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts together in a large bowl; set aside.
- Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Normally sugar is seen as a wet ingredient, but this time it was whisked in with the dry ones. Most likely to keep the batter a bit lighter when everything was folded together. I also didn’t measure the bananas as I have in the past to make sure I had the right amount. It’s unusual to have a baking recipe that allows for wiggle room, but it’s all good. It’s a very easy recipe, but banana bread almost always is. Kept in plastic wrap, it should keep at room temperature for about 3 days. Since it’s just me in the house, I’ll probably have to freeze some or bring it into work to share.* However… I think I’ve heard of a french toast recipe using leftover banana bread, so my co-workers may just have to miss out! 😀
* Isn’t it always banana bread that co-workers bring into the office? “Come partake of the leftovers of the the baked goods I made from fruit that was on the borderline of being thrown out!” Sharing is caring, after all.
† I expect my pop-culture geeks to know exactly where the title of this entry comes from. You know who you are.