Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Banana Bread, Not Too Sweet

It doesn't happen very often around my house, but once in a while the bananas get a bit ripe before they get eaten. Very ripe bananas are perfect for making banana bread, though. In fact, they're the key to making a moist and flavorful banana bread.

I stole this recipe from the folks at America's Test Kitchen. It was included in an America's Test Kitchen edition of Let's Get Cooking for the Nintendo DS. (I'll give you a full review of that, later.) I don't know if it's the best banana bread I've ever had, but it does have wonderful banana flavor and wasn't overly sweet, like some banana bread can be. I did modify the directions slighlty, based on my own experience and kitchen. Although America's Test Kitchen won't tell you this, it actually tastes better the second day.

This banana bread recipe uses walnuts, but they're optional. You can substitute pecans if you'd like, or simply do without the nuts.

Kitchen Equipment Needed
Mixing bowlsSaucepan
Cutting board
Loaf panWhisk
Rubber spatula

3 very ripe bananas
6 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
Cooking spray
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mash the bananas into paste with a fork. 3 bananas will make about 1 1/2 cups. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Set aside to cool. Beat the eggs in small bowl; set aside.

Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until toasty and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove them from the pan and let them cool a bit. Lightly chop.

Generously spray the loaf pan with the cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, yoghurt and vanilla together in a separate bowl. Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the nuts, if using. Do not over mix! The batter should be fairly thick and chunky.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan with the rubber spatula and smooth the top. Bake on the lower middle oven rack for about 50 - 55 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted in the center and come out with just a few crumbs attached.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a wire cooling rack and let it cool completely before serving, about 1 hour.

Makes about 10 slices.

Note: If you don't have 3 very ripe bananas at the same time, freeze them until you do. Frozen bananas, once thawed, work great for this recipe.

Yes, it's my fault the photo is so blurry. Sorry. If you think this one's bad, and it is, you should have seen the other ones. Yeesh.

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