I love banana bread but for some reason I don’t particularly enjoy making it. Perhaps because it sometimes seems like a tricky beast to get just right.
I started subscribing to Cook’s Illustrated and am highly impressed with what I have seen. The first piece of mailing that I got was Cook’s All-Time Best Recipes: Foolproof Favorites from 20 Years of Cook’s Illustrated. The only drawback to Cook’s Illustrated is that the body of the magazine is in black and white. I can understand how that is cost-effective, but I love to look at color photos.
Anyway, there is a recipe for Ultimate Banana Bread (page 68-69.) The article discusses how the riper the banana the more fructose is produced. (Think sugar.) Then there is a piece about banana juice. CI instructs the reader to microwave bananas to extract the juice, strain it, and then reduce it.
I like to take shortcuts, so I just microwaved my bananas and poured the juice first into the batter, then added the bananas themselves.
They also place sliced bananas on top (“Shingle Your Loaf”) to add more flavor before baking. I omitted this step.
I was reluctant to bake it for the 55 minutes like they suggest because my oven is an ole cranky gal and I often have problems getting baked items just right. (Okay, sometimes it probably is operator error, but trust me – my oven is about to croak. Sometimes I hear her groan after I have used her and turned her off. I am afraid she is going to fall out on my floor one day.)
The top had a beautiful color and the texture makes me want to ply it off and eat it immediately. It’s like eating “muffin tops.”
The hardest part about this bread is waiting for it to cool.
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- demerara or granulated sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray.
- Peel bananas and place in a microwave safe shallow bowl. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
- Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- Whip butter on high-speed in large bowl of an electric mixer. Add brown sugar and mix until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla.
- Slowly pour banana “juice” into batter in mixer and blend. (Remember that there are eggs in the batter and the juice is still hot/warm. You have to temper the batter.)
- Add bananas and mix until incorporated.
- Add flour and mix until smooth.
- Pour into prepared pan and Sprinkle top with sugar. Bake for 55 minutes or until done.
- Remove to wire rack and allow to cool.
My daughter liked that the bread had a smooth consistency – there were no “clumps” of bananas. (She also doesn’t like nuts in her banana bread, but if you like them feel free to add some before baking.)