Sunday, August 16, 2009

Banana Bread

I recently came across this blog, STRESSCAKE, and saw a yummy recipe for banana bread. I had all of the ingredients on hand, including three ripe bananas. I had to threaten the household to refrain from eating the bananas so I could make this bread, but they made me promise to share. Fine.

As soon as I started mashing and mixing everything I realized we were out of flour! Luckily there was a bit of wheat flour left that I had brought with me from Waco. I knew it would probably be a little more dense, but it actually complimented the bread. Banana bread is dense and hearty and comforting, and the wheat flour added just a bit more texture. My father usually frowns upon my wheat flour, but he devoured the cake and said it was good!

Now, the recipe calls to brown the butter. I did, but I'm not sure how much of a difference it made. I'll definitely make this again, but I think I'll just use unsweetened applesauce instead.

Brown Butter Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins

3 large, very ripe bananas
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon dark rum (optional) (I used vanilla extract)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1. With cooking spray, lightly grease a loaf pan or muffin tin (or use muffin papers.) I usually line loaf pans with a bit of parchment paper too just to make it easier to remove from the pan. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
3. In a small saucepan over medium-low melt the butter and then let slowly cook until the milk solids begin to brown and the mixture smells nutty. Let it go until the milk solids become a very dark brown. Take off the heat, strain into a bowl to remove the darkened milk solids and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas.
5. Add the sugar, egg, browned butter and rum (if using) to the bananas and mix to combine.
6. Add the flour; sift in the salt, baking powder, baking soda (just to eliminate any lumps), nutmeg and nuts.
7. Stir to combine.
8. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan or fill muffin cups ¾ full.
9. Bake: 20-25 minutes for muffins or 40-45 minutes for a loaf. Test for doneness – a toothpick or skewer inserted just off center should come out clean with no traces or wet batter and the top(s) are golden brown.
10. Banana bread will keep, tightly wrapped, for a few days or freeze for up to 1 month.

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