I’ve Gone Bananas
I admit it. Sometimes I buy more bananas than I need just so this will happen:
Whenever I see at least two over ripe bananas, I know it’s time to bake some banana bread.
There are dozens of great banana bread recipes out there, but I really love the one from Joy of Cooking (1997 edition, page 773-4). It’s probably my favorite quick bread.
Sadly, the only recipes I’ve seen online attributed to Joy of Cooking aren’t quite the same (the recipe I use starts with 1-1/3 cups of flour, the others call for 1-3/4 cups and also require more butter and sugar), so I don’t have a link to provide. Instead of using the traditional method – cream butter and sugar, add eggs and mashed bananas, then gradually add dry ingredients – this particular recipe has you cream the butter and sugar and then beat in the flour until it has “the consistency of brown sugar.” After that you add the eggs and fold in the bananas. Nuts are optional. If I have nuts I’ll add them.
I guess having the exact recipe doesn’t really matter, since I don’t follow it exactly. I add a little vanilla, a dash of cinnamon and sometimes chocolate chips. (Sorry, but I left the chocolate chips out this time.) And I don’t mash the bananas as well as you’d think. I like to leave a few good chunks of banana.
Have you ever made a quick bread only to have the middle puff up or maybe not quite bake all the way through? My trick for avoiding either of those problems is simple. Take your spatula and push some of the batter from the middle up along the sides of your pan, leaving a slight indentation down the middle, like this:
I sprinkled a few sliced almonds on top just to be pretty, and so people who don’t like nuts will know there are almonds in the bread.
Banana bread is good anytime of year, but other other kinds of quick breads – zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, even apple bread – are definite fall favorites.
What’s your favorite kind of quick bread? And what special touches do you throw into the batter?