Sunday, March 29, 2009

My favorite banana bread.

I know, spring is here, but this weekend was gray and cool and I felt the need to bake. I've been squelching that "need" since I'm off sugar these days (my vow broken only once for a Girl Scout cookie that turned out to be Totally Not Worth It). I needed to reward myself by baking since I conquered some spring cleaning activities this weekend--very unlike me by the way, to do this so called spring cleaning. I must be growing up or something. Grumble, grumble.

The Boss decided this week that she's off bananas after a pretty long run (we're really into strawberries and kiwi right now) which lead to a lot of smoothie making and some overripe ones to whip up in this loaf. This has been my go to recipe for banana bread for years now. It's really forgiving so if you don't have four bananas, you can get away with two or three. Butter can be replaced by the oil of your choice or half applesauce, too. I tend to like my banana bread nut free. Oh, and if you're like my husband and you feel everything is better with a hand full of chocolate chips, you'll be mighty happy you added them.

Next weekend will bring us another installment of Cooking with Grammy where I attempt to write a semblance of a recipe that is pretty much just in my mother's head. I'm just preparing you, there is going to be some delicious carb stuffed into carb action. Until then, go mash up those overripe bananas you have sitting around.
Banana Bread with Pecans (or not)
by Tyler Florence
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 overripe bananas
  • 1 cup sugar (I usually cut this down to 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes(I would test it around 1 hour and then every five minutes after. I've never had to go that amount of time) , until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don't get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that's no mistake, it's typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning. (I find that my loaf is dark enough about 30-40 minutes into baking and I cover it with foil to ensure it doesn't burn).

Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. (What? You can't wait til it's cool! You need to have at least one piece warm!)


Life with Pog said...

I love banana bread. I'll have to give this recipe a try. I prefer my breads nut-free too. AND, if you're ever short a banana (or two), you might be able to throw in some banana yogurt or even a jar of banana baby food. Not that *I* have ever done something like that... :)

Amanda said...

Mmmmm, sounds tasty! And I can't believe you broke your no sugar streak on some girl scout cookies and NOT on some caramel crack. For shame.

Sara M said...

Sounds yummy! I'm betting we'll have some extra banana's at the end of the week - DH & I each bought a bunch without realizing it. Now I know *exactly* what I'll be doing with them!