Who Can Resist Banana Bread?

I can’t.

When I spot a few bananas getting past their prime, I instantly start carving out time to make banana bread. It’s a treat like no other. Sorry to say I’m a purist who does not put any chocolate in her banana bread; walnuts, yes, but not chocolate.  It’s one of the few baked items I make that isn’t doused in a deep vat of dark chocolate. This tasty bread doesn’t need chocolate-gulp-it’s great without it.

The banana bread I’ve been making for years is from Cook’s Illustrated.  It’s a great recipe and there is no reason to look for better or change it up at all. Cook’s stresses the key to great banana bread is the ripeness of the banana. The riper the better but be sure and bag them to keep the fruit fly population in check. If you don’t have the time to bake, bag the bananas and freeze until you do have the time.

 First step is roasting the walnuts.  Add the 1 and a 1/4 cup to a dry pan and roast on medium heat, stirring constantly until you hear popping or smell the oils.  Be careful and don’t burn nuts. Let the nuts cool before chopping.

Gather your dry ingredients: sugar, flour, chopped walnuts, baking soda, and salt. Combine all into a large bowl.

Gather your wet ingredients: mashed bananas, melted butter, vanilla, eggs, and yogurt. Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl and then add to dry. Stir gently until combined and add to prepared bread pan(greased and floured).

Bake for an hour or so until a long toothpick(or I use a spaghetti pasta)comes out clean.

Nom, nom, nom. I ate the heel seconds after taking the photo.

The Best Banana Bread

Excerpted word for word from:Cook’s Illustrated

Greasing and flouring only the bottom of a regular loaf pan causes the bread to cling to the sides and rise higher. If using a nonstick loaf pan, on which the sides are very slick, grease and flour sides as well as the bottom.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups toasted walnuts, chopped coarse (about 1 cup)
3 very ripe bananas, soft, darkly speckled, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of regular loaf pan, or grease and flour bottom and sides of nonstick 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. Combine first five ingredients together in large bowl; set aside.

2. Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with wooden spoon in medium bowl. Lightly fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan; bake until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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