Banana bread is one of those things that I’ve made many, many times – but I never had a ‘go-to’ recipe. I always just searched for a recipe and tried a new one each time. I’ve experienced the dry crumbly loaves and also the uncooked mushy middle – but I can put all of that aside now. Because I found the winner – it has a whopping 6 whole bananas and even one sliced on top. The bread was perfectly moist and I loved the crispy outside and the bananas on top caramelized in the oven. I know for a fact I will be making this bread again and again! I like to keep any bananas that get too ripe in the freezer to have on hand at a moments notice – and that ended up being perfect for this recipe. You can also use fresh – but make sure you let them ripen – so you really have to plan ahead (which is why I like to have a supply in the freezer). Enjoy!
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 large, very ripe bananas (about 2¼ lbs.), peeled or 5 thawed, frozen bananas and 1 fresh banana
- 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.
2. Lightly spray a loaf pan (8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches) with nonstick cooking spray.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; whisk together and set aside.
4. [You can skip this step if using previously frozen and thawed bananas and move onto step 5] Place 5 bananas in a microwave safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and make several slits in the wrap with a paring knife to act as steam vents. Microwave on high until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes.
5. Transfer the bananas to a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and let drain, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes (you should have about 1/2 cup liquid).
6. Transfer the reserved banana liquid to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to about ¼ cup, 5-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
7. In a large bowl, combine the bananas and the reduced banana liquid. Mash together until fairly smooth.
8. Whisk in the melted butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
9. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the banana mixture. Fold together gently, just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in the walnuts.
10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.
11. Slice the remaining banana diagonally into ¼-inch thick slices. Layer the banana slices along both sides of the top of the batter, leaving a 1 1/2 inch wide space down the center to allow an even rise. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the assembled loaf.
12. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55-75 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the pan before removing and continuing to cool on the wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Source: Cook’s Illustrated, July & August 2010