I know I spend a lot of time on this blog gushing about all the foods that I absolutely LOVE, but I rarely mention things that I dislike. It’s mainly because most of the foods that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole like processed meat, cheese sauce, and black licorice are never listed in the ingredients of a dessert recipe. Although once I did taste a cheesecake topped with carmelized spam bits (don’t ask why), and it was the most digusting thing EVER.
Anyways, one food that I don’t really care for, but is often included in desserts, are bananas. In my opinion, bananas are not particularly delicious, and they have a gross texture and leave a weird aftertaste in your mouth. The only way I’ll eat them raw is if they are green or only slightly yellow with no brown spots. Whenever I bring home bananas from the grocery store, I usually deem them inedible after a couple of days.
So that leaves me with lots of bananas for baking! :) I like bananas SO much better when they are cooked in oatmeal or pancakes or dessert. They have a naturally sweet flavor that is fantastic for muffins, quick breads, and even cookies! I usually make a loaf of banana bread with the overripe bananas I have sitting on the kitchen counter, but sometimes I also like to make Banana Walnut Whole Wheat Bread Pudding or Banana Almond Butter Breakfast Bars.
I know everyone and their mother has a recipe for banana bread, but this one is better, I promise! This is not your typical banana bread recipe. First of all, you need FIVE whole bananas, and there is also some microwaving, draining, and reducing involved. It’s definitely worth the extra effort though, and your taste buds will be thanking you. Even my mom admitted that this banana bread is superior to her own!
Ultimate Banana Bread
Source: adapted from Stylish Cuisine, originally from Cook’s Illustrated
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 large very ripe bananas, peeled
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Spray one 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray
2. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.
3. Place 5 bananas in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in the plastic wrap with a paring knife. Microwave on high until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to a fine-mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. You should have 1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid after straining
3. Transfer liquid to medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in drained bananas; mash with a fork until fairly smooth. Whisk in melted butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
4. Pour the banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in the walnuts. Pour the batter into prepared bread pan.
5. Bake 55 to to 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool bread in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature