Now that I have some semblance of a normal life again, two of the activities I like doing best are cooking and going to the library. Sometimes I like to combine the two by checking out a new cookbook, which is a great and seemingly little known way to get new recipes without having to own a million cookbooks. I think I will spend my afternoon taking the girls to the library and then baking banana bread. Vivi loves to “help” me bake. Here’s the recipe, which is delicious and essentially fool-proof. I got it from my mom-in-law, who originally got it from Cooking Light. It’s been adapted several times.
most banana-y banana bread EVER
makes one loaf
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c. unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 large eggs
6 ripe bananas (or 3 bananas if not doing ATK technique)
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. chopped lightly toasted walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degF. Grease loaf pan. Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Put 5 peeled bananas in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cut small vent holes, and heat until juices are released; start with 2 minutes and add 30 seconds at a time if needed. (Note: You may not need to do the microwave step if you have frozen and defrosted the bananas; this process also draws out the juice). Pour juice (about 1/2 cup; add water if needed) into a small saucepan and reduce over medium-high heat to 1/4 cup. Mash bananas until smooth. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar with a mixer until well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add banana, juice, yogurt, and vanilla (and walnuts if you so choose). Add flour mixture; fold together until just moist. You should still be able to see a few flour streaks.
Pour into greased loaf pan. Slice remaining banana and add it to the long sides of the pan. Leave a wide middle so the loaf can rise. It will look about like so after it cooks:
Bake for about 55 to 75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 min before trying to remove it from the pan, then cool completely on a wire rack or inside a tea towel for a softer crust. (Note: If your baking soda is doing its job, your bread should crack down the center while baking. If not, it’s time to get new soda. You can also test it by stirring together 1/4 tsp. baking soda and 2 tsp. vinegar; it should bubble right away if it’s good).