07 March 2013

Pannier Plat du Jour: B.N.B. (Banana Nut Bread)

I am a picky banana eater.

I will not eat them green.
I do not like their little strings.

I will not eat one with brown spots.
I do not like their ends or tops.

While tidying up after breakfast, I scanned the fruit bowl for overripe fruit and found a neglected trio of brown spotted bananas.

Instead of my usual toss in the bin approach, I decided to celebrate their longevity by baking banana nut bread. After all, there is nothing quite like homemade bread with a strong cup of Joe in the morning.

I compared some recipes to avoid a trip to the grocery store for ingredients. Most recipes called for walnuts, I gave the batter pecans instead. I can attest, even a trained palate would not notice the difference.

Baking also sparked an impromptu activity for my two year old. My little sous chef eagerly pealed and squished bananas in her hands, finger painted the baking tin with butter, scooped the sugar, and even cracked an egg. It was messy, fun and the end result... delicious!

 Yields one loaf

(recipe adapted from Food Network)
  •  1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 fresh vanilla pods (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2- 1 cup pecan pieces

  1. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together and set aside. 
  3. Butter a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inch). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand-held mixer) until light and fluffy. 
  5. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the butter, while mixing, until incorporated. 
  6. Add the bananas (the mixture will appear to be curdled, don't panic), and remove the bowl from the mixer.
  7. With a rubber spatula, or on low speed with standard mixer, mix in the sifted dry ingredients until just incorporated. 
  8. Fold in the nuts and transfer the batter to the prepared pan. 
  9. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean, about 55 minutes. If the top begins to burn before bread is cooked, lightly cover with aluminium foil. 
  10. Cool the bread in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. 
  11. Turn the bread out of the pan and let cool completely on the rack. 

Keep banana bread fresh by wrapping in plastic film or air tight container. 

The flavours are even better the next day,  if you avoid devouring the bread fresh out of the oven...

Bon appetite!

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