My mother-in-law makes a FANTASTIC banana bread so why bother with a new recipe…because I can’t duplicate hers. My batter ends up either too light or too heavy and it can’t support it’s own weight. When it begins to rise while baking, it kind of falls into itself and although it does still taste good it just looks terrible. I’m not giving up on that recipe just yet but I needed to rebuild my confidence in my banana bread baking skills, so I went looking for a recipe that I thought was most likely to yield successful results. After seeing the cooks at America’s Test Kitchen make their Ultimate Banana Bread, I thought I’d give it a try.
Of course like all things that happen in real life v. TV, my endeavor didn’t go quite as smoothly as the TV show did but none of that really mattered since the end loaf turned out just wonderful. The only change I’ll have to make next time is to leave off the banana “shingles” that were lovingly placed on each side of the loaf. My kids wanted nothing to do with those little guys.
Look everone – I wrote a short post! I didn’t know I had it in me. Now I need to stop before I spoil it.
Fancy Banana Bread
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5-6 large very ripe bananas (about 2 1/4 pounds), divided.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts , toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.
- Peel and place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally. In 15 minutes (you should have ½ to ¾ cup liquid).
- Transfer liquid to a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until it reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
- Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining.
- Gently fold in walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan. If shingling bananas on top of loaf, slice remaining banana diagonally into ¼-inch thick slices place the banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1 ½ inch-wide space down center to ensure even rise. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf to give the bread a crackly, smooth, glossy top.
- Bake until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 75 minutes. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes: For sweeter bread, use banana’s that are heavily speckled.
Source: America’s Test Kitchen