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.
“is there any other food item that you almost look forward to going a bit past its prime quite like a banana?”
And the title is either from “ORB”. Pete White made the banana bread, right?
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Oh my goodness. Banana bread is my favourite, and reminds me of my grandmother, who used to make it on a regular basis. I can smell it, just thinking about it.
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I’m telling you! My mom’s recipe is the best. Found here:
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