Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mmmm... Banana Bread!

Hi All and Happy Weekend!

It's so good to be back to blogging, at least a little more than I've been able to do recently! It's also been great to get back to at least a little cooking - it is my favorite time of year for cooking, after all! I have a ton of favorite holiday recipes that I hope to share with you guys very soon!

Last weekend, we happened to have a couple of lonely looking bananas laying around, and hubby suggested making banana bread. This is a huge favorite around here, but I try not to make it too often, because I tend to cut very large pieces for myself, and then eat after another! I simply have no self control around this delicious bread.

There are about as many versions of banana bread out there as there are pot roasts. Everyone's got their favorite, and this one is mine. It's a Mark Bittman recipe, and I have to agree with him that it's the ultimate that I have tried. His cookbook is a favorite of mine - if you've never picked up a copy of How to Cook Everything, check it out. There are a couple of optional ingredients, which I will point out, and I've tried making it both on the lighter side and the regular version.

Now, as PW would say, don't stress over the amount of butter called for here. Remember it's all about balance, and there is also whole wheat flour and fruit in this recipe :-) Unless you're like me you will cut this loaf into at least 8 pieces, and voila, not too much butter per serving at all. Try it the regular way once, to see how you like it, and to judge the recipe fairly. But after you've tried it the regular way once, I have found you can replace up to half the butter with applesauce without noticing much difference at all. I've also tried it with only applesauce and wasn't as happy with it, but then I tend to notice the absence of fat in foods (it's why I don't really prefer a lot of "light" recipes), but see how you like it. I bet (if you're feeling adventurous!) you could even use strawberry applesauce with nice results!

So without further ado, here's my very favorite version of this classic bread. (Okay, only slightly further ado...I love how we call it bread when we all know it's mean, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour...but ah well...we won't tell anyone, right?!) As I was saying...

Banana Bread
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything
Makes one loaf

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter (8 Tbsp)
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup grated dried unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9"x5" loaf pan. Combine dry ingredients (excluding nuts and coconut). Cream butter and eggs, and stir in mashed bananas. Combine the banana mixture with the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Don't overmix or bread will be tough. Stir in vanilla, nuts and coconut if using.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 45-60 minutes until golden brown. You can test with a toothpick and it will be mostly clean, but do not overbake; this bread is more moist than regular bread because of the bananas. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. If you try it warm, you may not have any leftovers ;-) But wrap any leftovers in waxed paper and foil. Makes a great breakfast, snack or (okay) dessert!

Hope you guys love this as much as we do!

Love, Dahrlin'


Michelle said...

That's very similar to a banana bread that I make (and I'm with you on "light" foods!). But ummm I sprinkle brown sugar on top before baking. Does that make me particularly wrong? Also, I don't do nuts -- have you ever made this one sans nuts? I know sometimes not having the structure etc of nuts throws off the moisture balance.

Live.Love.Eat said...

Oh my banana!!!!! Looks great Angela. I love the addition of coconut!!!!!! Glad to "see" you today!!

Angela said...

Michelle - you can definitely try it without the nuts. He says they are optional. The brown sugar sounds yummy! I adore brown sugar. I can just eat it by the spoonful (but of course I would never do such a thing! ;-)

Steph - glad to see you too!! And do try this one - the coconut is yummy. I don't even like coconut, but I love it in this.

Angie's Spot said...

That looks divine! I love banana bread so much. Unfortunately, bananas rarely make it to the "weathered" stage in this house. LOL!

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