Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Banana bread

Every Christmas, I made banana bread. Not just one or two loaves, but more like a half dozen. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. I guess the banana bread that I make is rather good and it's in high demand - and turns out, so is the recipe!

So, here is a much-coveted banana bread recipe. Follow it right and you will end up with sweet, non-dense banana bread that is great hot out of the oven with a side of vanilla bean ice cream or toasted in the morning as a breakfast treat.

Warning: it's not good for you. Yeah, it contains bananas but that's about as nutritious as you're going to get with this bread.

12.23.08 001

Banana bread
Makes 1 loaf
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
  • 3-4 very ripe bananas (key is very ripe - it's just not the same unless they're ready to be thrown out)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour (if you have bleached, you can work with it - but buy unbleached next time!)
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 cupe walnut chunks

  1. Mash up bananas and walnuts (if you have them) in one bowl. Place aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together with a hand mixer, or a whisk if you have strong arm muscles and determination. The key to this step is to make sure that the butter is truly room temperature. No cheating allowed here (putting a stick of butter in the microwave for a few seconds is not the same as leaving it out for the day - trust me, I've tried).
  3. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat the mixture after each egg to fully incorporate it.
  4. Add bananas and walnuts, if you have them.
  5. Add all dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract) to bowl. Using a spatula or large fork, mix all ingredients thoroughly, but minimally. The secret is to mix as little as possible but to mix all the ingredients together.
  6. Pour into a buttered loaf pan (my trick to do the buttering is to take the paper from the stick of butter and just invert it, spread it all over - kill to birds with one stone and you don't waste food!).
  7. Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Remember to rotate your loaf pan halfway in between if you have a shoddy oven like me that doesn't heat evenly. Check on it about 50 minutes in, put in a toothpick, if it comes out clean, it's done.
Now, I don't bake and cooking is my real joy (I even got the Joy of Cooking day by day calendar this year to perk me up), but this is my one baking joy. I perfected this bread in a way that it's almost like cooking to me, as I don't even have a written copy of the recipe and I "measure" rather inaccurately and it still turns out perfectly. It took many attempts to get a banana bread that tastes good but does not require the accuracy most baking calls for. So, you may call this a baking recipe for a cook.


penguin said...

you had to have been bored to write this

YennieT said...

Dude, it takes me a lot of time, but I enjoy it. I actually have some recipes that are yet to be posted: canh chua, ca kho, and caramel custard.