Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ultimate Banana Bread

This is the BEST banana bread ever.  I love banana bread and I'm serious: This is the best ever.

It comes from the July/ August 2010 Cools Illustrated Number 105 "Ultimate Banana Bread" by Andrea Geary.

Here you go:

Use very ripe (black if possible) bananas.

You will need:
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 large very ripe bananas peeled
1 stick unsalted butter melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup ( 5 1/4 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar (I use dark)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts toasted and chopped- OPTIONAL and I OPT not to use them
2 teaspoons white sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with non stick spray.  Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in large bowl.
2 Place 5 bananas in microwave safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut steam vents in plastic wrap with paring knife.  Microwave on high until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes.  Transfer bananas to fine mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl and allow to drain stirring occasionally 15 minutes.  (you should have 1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid.)
3. Transfer liquid to medium sauce pan and cook over medium high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan form heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth.  Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
4. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir just until combined with some streaks of white remaining.  Gently fold in walnuts if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan.  Slice remaining banana diagonally into 1/4 inch slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf leaving 1 1/2 inch wide space down the middle to ensure even rise. Sprinkle white sugar evenly over loaf.
5. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean- 55 to 75 minutes.  Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes, then remove from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The next time I make it, I think I'm going to cook a little less because the ends are dried out on mine, but the second slice to the second form end slice are wonderful!


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