Tuesday, August 28, 2012

banana bread.

At Tyler’s cafeteria, they have Free Fruit Friday, which means that on Friday evening Tyler returns home with a plethora of browned bananas and bruised apples.  He usually eats them for breakfast with peanut butter and raisins while watching his Saturday morning “cartoons” (by cartoons I mean home design shows which he loves), but this weekend he requested banana bread and I happily obliged in making it.  Banana bread is one of the most well loved breakfast foods but for some reason you rarely see it at bakeries.  Often bakeries sell banana sweets in the form of cupcakes and frosted cakes (I have a love affair with the banana cake from Billy’s Bakery – heavenly), which is a shame because banana bread is lovely.   My favorite recipe comes from Flour Bakery in Boston - it’s super moist and involves a whole lot of nuts and a whole lot of chocolate (my own addition).  In comes together quickly and tastes just as good the day it’s made as it does the next day (if you manage to have it last that long...).

Flour’s Famous Banana Bread
Recipie adapted, barely, from Flour by Joanne Chang

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
3 ½ bananas, very ripe, mashed (about 1 ½ cups)
2 tablespoons crème fraiche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt (I used yogurt and it worked!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
2/3 cups chocolate chips

Set oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan with non stick spray.  In a bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside. 

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, or a handheld mixer, beat together the sugar and eggs on medium speed for about 5 minutes on the stand mixer, and about 8 minutes for a handheld mixer; or until light and fluffy. 

With the machine on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil.  Do not pour the oil in all at once.  Add slowly so it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn’t deflate the air you have beaten into the batter.  Adding the oil should take about 1 minute.  Add the bananas, crème fraiche/sour cream/yogurt, and vanilla, then continue to mix on low speed just until combined.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture, nuts, and chocolate until thoroughly combined.  No flour streaks should be visible and the nuts/chocolate should be evenly distributed. 

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 1 to 1 ¼ hour for a 9 x 5 inch loaf; or until golden brown on top and the cake springs back when you press it.  If your finger sinks when you poke the bread, it needs to bake a little longer.  Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes and then pop it out of the pan to finish cooling.  It can last at room temperature for 3 days, but trust me it wont. 

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