Friday, June 6, 2008

Banana Bread

I have a confession to make: One of my worst culinary habits is buying a bunch of bananas at the grocery store with the intention of having them for quick breakfasts or using them in smoothies. I can always use them for banana bread, too, I tell myself as I scoop them into my cart. The problem is...I always say this, but I never do it. The bananas always just sit in the kitchen, over-ripening and smelling cloyingly sweet until they rot and I throw them away.

So last night, I broke the trend of wasted bananas and actually made some banana bread with them. I used the recipe in my trustworthy Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, and it was absolutely delicious. I was a big fan of the streusel topping, and I think I'll be using it in the future for some of the other quick breads I make. The bread was moist and not too overwhelmingly sweet. I'll definitely be making this bread again in the future, and I may even use this recipe to make some muffins! I think I've finally broken my bad banana habit!

Banana Bread
Source: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (Celebrating the Promise Edition) (page 130)

For the bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine (I used melted butter)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

For the streusel-nut topping:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9 x 5 x 3-inch or two 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, banana, sugar and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). If desired, sprinkle streusel-nut topping over batter in pans.

3. For streusel-nut topping, combine brown sugar and flour in a small bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts.

4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes for 9 x 5 x 3-inch pan or 40 to 45 minutes for 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 20-inch pans or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Cool in pan on a wire rack fo 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack. Wrap; store overnight before slicing.