Friday, October 31, 2008

Banana Bread

We eat a lot of bananas in the Heaviland household. Between the three of us, we go through a huge Costco bunch once a week. But occasionally there will be a straggler at the end that has a few too many speckles on the outside to look appetizing. So, we throw those guys into the freezer for future use. Last night I realized our freezer banana stash was getting overpopulated so I pulled out a few to make this delicious recipe from America's Test Kitchen's The New Best Recipe cookbook. It made a dense bread that really let the banana flavor stand out. I'll have to remember this recipe next October because every year on my birthday, Mark makes me banana bread french toast which we first had in Whistler, BC for our first anniversary.

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts together in a large bowl; set aside.
4. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
5. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days).

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