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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

daily bliss: banana bread

Today felt like my first real day of vacation...between end of the semester grading, holiday traveling, visiting with friends and family, prepping for a little new year's gathering, and preparing my third year pre-tenure review folder, I didn't have much time to be lazy.

And so, this morning, I lingered in bed in my new soft, warm German flannel sheets. I ate a leisurely breakfast. I watched The Gilmore Girls. I went to the gym, where I walked on the indoor track for fifty minutes whilst listening to podcasts of The Splendid Table. I braved the grocery store on double coupon/senior citizen day. I sifted through cookbooks. I read short stories. I made pumpkin ravioli.

And, I made banana bread. I haven't made this former staple in ages, partly because in my quest to eat local foods, I eschew buying tropical fruits most of the time. But banana bread beckoned. I looked around the blogosphere for recipes, and found Heidi's post at 101 Cookbooks. I decided to adopt the banana caramelizing technique she writes about, but to use my favorite recipe, from my friend H. She found it in the Best Recipe Cookbook published by the Cook's Illustrated folks. I've made a few alterations in the name of health and increased flavor, which I've included in the recipe below.

Banana Bread
adapted from The Best Recipes Cookbook

1 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. natural cane sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. toasted walnuts, chopped coarsely
3 very ripe bananas, caramelized in the oven (bake at 325 for 12 minutes, until very dark and bubbling), then mashed
1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
3 TBS melted butter
3 TBS canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare loaf pan (butter + flour) or line a muffin tin with papers.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and nuts in a large bowl.

Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl.

Lightly fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined. The batter will look thick and chunky. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes for the loaf and 15-20 minutes for muffins.

Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Bananas really are a dilemma, but I have to say that I love a good banana bread. I have a favorite recipe and I just might be persuaded to try yours... definitely will give the banana caramelization technique a spin.