Sunday, January 18, 2009

Buh-NAna-NAna!Bread with Alena & Faryl

On Christmas Day, I received an email from Faryl with a link to the recipe for banana bread. "This is in the oven right now," she informed me. I thought it sounded like such a cozy winter baked good, and we made plans to recreate it soon.

And recreate it we did. This recipe comes from the old standby, "The Joy of Baking":

The ingredients:

1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional) - Faryl roasted some pecans in honey, maple syrup, cinnamon (and maybe some other things?) and we used those - Highly Recommended!!!

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 ripe large bananas, mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups) - We also used an additional banana as a garnish on top of the bread

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

As you can see, we did not use a loaf pan, but a bundt pan! Either will work.

Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.)

Scrape batter into prepared pan and place the slices of banana on top of the batter for garnish. (If using a bundt pan, which you will FLIP over after the banana bread cools, remember to put the slices of banana on the BOTTOM of the pan, so that they're on top when you flip it. You know what I mean.)

Bake until bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.

"The Finale"

This bread is so flavorful and moist. I enjoyed a piece that night for dessert AND the next day for breakfast with some coffee. Adding the pieces of banana as a garnish on top was something I had not done before, but will do every time from now on. They get carmelized, soft and so tasty.

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