Posted by: A Part of the Solution | October 16, 2011

Divine Banana Bread

I suffered through a number of extremely ‘healthy’ banana bread recipes growing up. And I survived some of the utterly decadent versions once I was out of the house and on my own (e.g. Moosewood‘s and the recipe for chocolate chip cookies on the back of the Nestle’s bag with three mashed bananas added). Now I’m settled into adulthood, not to say middle age, and I have found the happiest of mediums in my latest banana bread recipe.

It’s based on The Family Baking Book from America’s Test Kitchen. But like lots of the stuff I enjoy in there, some of it was formulated in a test kitchen, and not in reality. Because really, who has six bananas go overripe all at once? If you’re not in the banana business, odds are it ain’t you. So I’ve messed with the scale here. And I like walnuts in my banana bread more than they do at ATK, so I didn’t change that measure from the original.

And I’m including a vegan version side by side in the recipe. Because I can mostly.

This tinkered-with recipe is lots easier with a good kitchen scale.

Divine Banana Bread– This will come out even better if you have all your ingredients at room temperature unless otherwise noted

4 very ripe, peeled bananas (if you don’t like to use a microwave, freeze the bananas and then thaw them in a strainer over a bowl), or 24 oz before draining

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, or white whole wheat, minus 1 1/2 TBSPs (7 oz)

1 scant tsp baking soda

1/3 tsp salt

6 1/2 TBSP melted and somewhat cooled butter, or walnut oil, or 1 TBSP unrefined corn oil plus 1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs, lightly beaten, or 3 TBSP ground flax seed blended with 1/4 cup water until foamy and demulcent (i.e. mucus-y)

1/2 cup + 1 1/2 TBSP brown sugar, (4.2 oz) packed

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (put them on a cookie sheet when you preheat the oven. When the oven comes to temperature, they’ll be toasted–but not burnt)–and these are optional if you don’t want walnuts. You could always substitute toasted,unsweetened coconut–or leave the banana to solo.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 7 by 3 inch loaf pan, or a standard muffin tin, or 3-4 dozen mini-muffin tins.

Microwave the bananas in covered bowl for 3-5 minutes until they’re nestling in a pool of their own juices. Put them in a strainer over a bowl for ~15 minutes to drain thoroughly. Or thaw the bananas as described above.

Whisk together in a small bowl the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir the chopped walnuts into this. And/or the coconut if using.

Boil down the reserved banana juices to ~3 1/2 TBSPs. Pour the juices back over the bananas in a large bowl and mash them well together. Add the egg/egg alternative, fat, sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until thoroughly combined. Fold in the flour/nut mixture. It should be just a few strokes shy of fully incorporated when you stop.

Portion the batter according to your choice of baking gear (all the batter into the loaf pan, large scoops in the standard muffin tins, full tablespoons into the mini-muffin tins).

Bake the loaf pan 45-50 minutes. Bake the standard muffins 25-30 minutes. Bake the mini-muffins for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan/s halfway through (and if you’re doing muffins, swap shelves as well).

Allow this/these to cool on a wire rack for as long as you can stand it. My personal best is about 26 seconds.

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Responses

  1. Banana bread really is the best! It’s so fun to make and literally delicious – particularly with chocolate chunks.

    • I do still love to put chocolate morsels into the banana bread from time to time. Usually when the boys are away–since they don’t appreciate it properly.


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