Thursday, March 8, 2012
I have to say, this is the best banana bread I have ever made. And it's so perfect, because today is Banana Bread Day.
Five years ago, after having dated Justin for 3 1/2 weeks, I discovered that he loved banana bread. I baked some banana bread and made a card reading something like, "I hereby declare March 8th to be National Banana Bread Day..." And we lived happily ever after.
Today marks the 6th Annual Banana Bread Day in the Kuk household. I've made banana bread every year on this day since (and a few times outside of it). I've experimented with different recipes involving chocolate, peanut butter, coconut, and many delightful ingredients. But this recipe from Baking Illustrated really satisfies our craving for rich, thick, nutty banana bread.
The in-depth recipe testers recommend mashing, not blending, the bananas to avoid introducing extra air. They also caution against overmixing, which would produce a shorter, tougher loaf. The batter will be very thick, but don't feel as though you have to mix every last speck of flour. I used white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. If you don't have that, you can use half all-purpose and half regular whole wheat flour. If you want to make a double recipe, you can freeze one without altering the texture.
I hope you make this bread and create your own annual banana bread day. It certainly makes a nice treat.
Recipe from Baking Illustrated
Makes one 9-inch loaf
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast the walnuts for 5-10 minutes. Butter a 9" x 5" loaf pan, then sprinkle with flour and knock out excess. Coarsely chop them if you'd like, but I added them whole. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cooled walnuts together in a large bowl. Set aside.
3 very ripe, speckled, soft bananas, mashed well
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix together in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then cool on rack. Will keep wrapped tightly at room temperature for 3 days.
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