Monday, August 29, 2011

End all, be all banana bread

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It's not like I haven't made banana bread before—and I've tried my hand, too, at a unique Vietnamese (or Japanese) banana cake. But now that I've found this recipe, I'm not sure I'll ever go to a different one.

Not only does it bake up a wonderfully moist loaf of banana bread, the recipe is based on ingredients that I usually have on hand: oil, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract. As long as I have bananas and enough eggs—and typically I do—I can whip up a loaf or two without having to leave the house. The only tricky ingredient is the crème fraîche, but I've subbed in plain yogurt, vanilla yogurt, or milk on different occasions and the banana bread still bakes up beautifully. Taking after my dad, I usually cut down the amount of sugar in the recipe, and a few extra bananas never seems to hurt the loaves any, either.
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Instead of walnuts, I've been adding in toffee bits that I purchased from Vern's Toffee before I left Fort Collins. The broken almond toffee kind of melts into the crumb, lending an overall richness and nuttiness to the banana bread rather than asserting itself in large chunks. The bits make a fine topping for muffins, too.

Banana Bread
adapted from Flour Bakery
yields 2 loaves or 24 medium-sized muffins

    3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
    2 1/3 cups sugar [I typically cut this down to 1 3/4 cups]
    1 cup vegetable oil [I typically cut this down to 3/4 cup]
    3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas [6 large, or more]
    1/4 cup crème fraîche [I sub in plain yogurt; if using sweetened vanilla yogurt, I cut down the sugar by another few teaspoons]
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and chopped [or, 1 1/2 cups toffee bits, chocolate chips, etc.]

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, or line several muffin tins with paper liners.

    Sift together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

    Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, crème fraîche or yogurt, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts, toffee bits, or chocolate chips gently but thoroughly.

    Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. If baking as muffins, bake about 15–20 minutes.

    Cool loaves (or muffins) in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn right side up and cool completely.

    3 comments:

    1. I'd love to try this recipe! Or better yet, I'd love if someone would try this recipe and then bring me some! =]

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    2. Hmmm this recipe looks so delicious and nice and i think that fits perfect with my taste and in my opinion is a very easy recipe, so i think i will try it. Thanks for sharing.

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