Tuesday, February 22, 2011

banana bread, my way

I am not a self-proclaimed lover of bananas in their unadulterated form, nor do I eat them unless I'm feeling extra puritanical that day.  But as with the exception to every rule: put bananas in cake or bread and I'm your girl.  Cooked or baked bananas brings out a toasty, tropical warmth from within that perfumes every little crumb while keeping the bread/cake very moist.  I just figured that cooked/baked bananas probably bring out certain essential oils that are similar to artificial banana flavor.  I love banana flavored Runts candy, go figure.

Banana bread is a quick bread that is quite simple to whip up.  There is no need to dust off the stand mixer or to plug in any equipment.  I don't even use the extra fork to mash up the bananas, I just use a whisk that will be used to mix everything together.  There are many different variations that call for little extras like chocolate chips, candied ginger but I prefer the addition of only pecans and a smattering of demerara sugar on top for a little carmelized crunch.

Most importantly is to NOT mash up the bananas too much.  I like some banana chunks to remain whole for some extra banana taste and it's nice to see bananas in your banana bread.  This is a banana bread with banana integrity!  

Banana Bread
Adapted from Saveur

Butter, for greasing pan
1 cup flour, plus more for pan
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
4 very ripe roughly mashed bananas with visible chunks
2 Tbsp demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9" x 5" x 2 3/4" loaf pan and dust with flour; set pan aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar; set aside.

Whisk together sugar, canola oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract, egg and egg yolk in a medium bowl until smooth.  Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Add mashed bananas and pecans and whisk to combine.  Pour batter into prepared pan, sprinkle top with demerara sugar and bake until golden brown.  A toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf should come out clean, 65-70 minutes.  Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serves 8-10.

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