Monday, June 27, 2016

My Favorite Banana Bread


My girls can be as different as night and day. One is calm, kind of shy; the other is non-stop energy. One will try anything; the other cries at new foods. I love observing their differences, but also seeing how well they (usually) play together.

A week or so ago, I made banana bread. Grandma delivered homemade chocolate chip cookies. I didn't think I stood a chance against those cookies, but that night after dinner, my little Nutmeg replied "Banana bread!" when I asked her what she wanted for a treat. My little Eclair (and Daddy and I) all opted for the chocolate chips... But Nutmeg is her own little person - all 30 pounds of her.

Here's a better example of their personalities. Yesterday we went to an event that offered face painting. The girl doing it had a display of different options: animals, princesses, monsters, superheroes, Minnie Mouse, etc. Eclair picked exactly what I expected: the pinkest, sparkliest, girliest design up there. Nutmeg decided she would accept nothing less than Captain America. This picture will put a smile on my face for many, many years to come... Both my girls, exactly as they should be!
Back to the banana bread: it's moist, packed with bananas, and easy enough to make. I double the recipe and freeze a loaf or give one away. If you freeze it, wrap it first in waxed paper, then in foil, then pop it in a Ziploc.

Banana bread with walnuts
Adapted from Family Meal by Tyler Florence

Yield: 1 9-inch loaf


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture.

With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don't get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that's no mistake, it's typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

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