Downturn Dish: Banana bread bombshell

April 15, 2009

When I forget about those bananas sitting at the bottom of my fruit bowl, there's only one thing to do: make banana bread. I like mine warm, with a glass of milk, and perhaps a smear of butter for good measure. Below is my friend Cara's banana bread recipe (courtesy of the Food Network), which is the best I've tasted. This recipe means brown bananas are no longer an eyesore.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. fine salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for preparing the pan

1 cup sugar

3 very ripe bananas, peeled, and mashed with a fork (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces

1. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl, set aside.

2. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup with a spout, set aside. 3. Lightly brush a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with an electric hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar 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, so don't worry), and remove the bowl from the mixer.

7. With a rubber spatula, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the nuts and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

8. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Turn the bread out of the pan and let cool completely on the rack. Wrap in plastic wrap. The banana bread is best if served the next day.