Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Better banana bread

Better banana bread

There's always room for improvement, especially when the initial outcome wasn't all that impressive. After this rare disappointment from Cooks Illustrated, I went back to the drawing board, looking for a better banana bread recipe. And now, I'm happy to say that I've found it.

Better still, this one has the potential to be a much healthier banana bread: The original recipe comes from Cooking Light and includes nonfat yogurt, while leaving out the fattening-but-delicious walnuts. But, well, I couldn't leave well enough alone, especially when I had some full-fat sour cream in the fridge that needed to be used up. I'm sure it would come out just as good with the yogurt, though, since they're both thick, slightly tart dairy products.

I still had a little trouble getting the middle of the loaf done before the outside burned, but there was only one little singed bit on the top by the time this one just barely reached doneness in the center. Careful monitoring of your loaf is key. And the results were well worth the effort.

Better Banana Bread
Adapted from Cooking Light

3 very ripe bananas
2 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
2 eggs
1/3 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 c chopped walnuts (or less, or none, to your taste)

1. Mash the bananas thoroughly and set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
3. Beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, then the banana, sour cream and vanilla.
4. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed, half at a time, until just blended.
5. Stir in the nuts.
6. Scrape into a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan and cool completely on a rack

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