Banana bread is one of my favorite snacks. I love a slice with a cup of coffee in the morning. It just seems like a great way to start the day. I have tried several recipes for banana bread before and most of them have been pretty good and tasty. I have yet to come across one that makes dry, crumbly bread that you wouldn’t want to eat. When I saw this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for the Ultimate Banana Bread, I knew I was going to have to check it out and give it a try to see if it really lives up to all the hype.
Ultimate Banana Bread
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 large very ripe bananas, peeled
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
Place 5 bananas in a microwave-safe bowl; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in the plastic wrap with a paring knife. Microwave on high power until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bananas to a fine-mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl and allow them to drain, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. You should have about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of liquid.
Transfer the liquid to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir the reduced liquid into the bananas, and mash the bananas with a potato masher until they are fairly smooth. Whisk in the butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in the walnuts, if using. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Slice the remaining banana diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Shingle the banana slices on top of either side of the loaf, leaving about an 1 1/2 inch space down the center of the loaf to ensure an even rise. Sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over the loaf.
Bake the loaf until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 55 to 75 minutes. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and continue to cool it on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Now calling it the ultimate banana bread may be bragging a little on their part, but it is a pretty darn good bread. it has some of the best banana flavor in bread that I have had in a while and I do like the bananas on top of the bread too. With the sugar they almost caramelized and candied a bit, making them quite tasty.Microwaving the bananas and getting the liquid out of them really helps to give the flavor and keeps the bread from getting too mushy with this many bananas in the recipe. Both Sean and Michelle agreed it was one of the best banana breads, so I’ll be making this one again.
That’s all for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I have a bunch of new ones to choose from, so we’ll see what comes up next. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!