Friday, July 23, 2010

Going Bananas for Banana! (Banana Bread)

I love banana bread for many reasons! If you know me, you're probably thinking I love banana bread because I love bananas! While that is true, it's only partly true. Side note: I have been obsessed with bananas for the past two year and haven't gone more than two days without eating a banana. I eat one for breakfast everyday and if I don't eat it for breakfast, I find some other time in the day to get my daily banana intake. It's a horrible obsession but at least it's a healthy one! Continuing on my banana rant, I only eat bananas at a particular ripeness. The idea banana is a vibrant yellow that is slightly green towards the end (see Oatmeal Banana Streusel Muffins). I don't pick bananas that are all bruised on the bottom. When I go to the grocery store, I only buy enough bananas so I can eat them at their ideal state which meant I bought bananas every three days. I am that picky!

Last summer, I was talking to my friend and she was telling me how she puts bananas in her smoothies and how it is tastier when they are riper. I started trying it out in my own smoothies I made for breakfast and she was right! I slowly became okay with eating riper bananas (deep yellow with speckles) in my peanut butter banana sandwiches, smoothies, and of course...banana bread! I am proud to say that I can buy a week's worth of bananas (one a day) and be okay with eater riper bananas by the end of the week!

Anyways, back to the focus on this blog entry: banana bread! The key to tasty banana is using really ripe bananas. I'm talking mushy and practically brown. I know, it's strange to hear me say this but it is true! This is my favorite banana bread recipe because it is full of banana flavor and it's not too sweet nor too heavy. Also, you can create your own variation of banana bread from this recipe. I have added chocolate chips to make chocolate chip banana bread and I have made whole wheat banana bread where I used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. Don't worry, the bread did not turn out dry, it was still moist and I felt better about myself after ingesting it!

Banana Bread
compliments of Sunset Breads Cookbook

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (325 F for glass pan).
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and walnuts (optional)
3. In a separate bowl, combine bananas, milk, eggs, and butter until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture, in 3 batches, until ingredients are just blended.
4. Pour batter in 4-1/2 in x 8-1/2 in loaf pan.
5. Bake approximately 1-1/4 hours or until bread begins to pull away from side and toothpick comes out clean.

If you're using a size pan different from noted above, the baking time will change:
9 x 5 pan - bake 1 hour
3-3/8 x 7-3/8 pan - bake 45 minutes

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