Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Classic Banana Bread

I suppose February is my slacker month. A whole week plus has passed in this month and I haven't given you anything! Well, I suppose the only way to make up for that is with one of my favorite classic recipes that is adapted from The Joy of Cooking cookbook.

I don't bake very often so when I first decided I wanted to try this out, I was definitely nervous. I followed the recipe to a T (which, in general, is actually a very good practice in baking). Now, I make small variations here and there depending on what I have in my kitchen. Overall, though, I have to say that while this is a little more challenging than some of my other posts, anyone can do it if they are focused and hungry :-)

For those of us who live alone or with one other person, what is the ONE thing we always buy too much of and then have to eat a whole BUNCH in a day? Guesses?

BANANAS! That is correct. We've all been there...standing at the banana stand, staring at their yellow glory and thinking how awful you would feel if you broke the bunch and only bought 3 bananas instead of 6.

So we come home with six beautiful bananas, eat a few, and watch as the rest become brown, spotty creatures on top of the fridge. Now, you don't have to fret. POP THOSE BABIES IN THE FREEZER. Next, quickly gather up the following ingredients and get ready to make a delicious, fresh, addicting banana bread.

Here's what you need (all at room temperature):
3 very ripe bananas
2 eggs, beaten
1.5 cups flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups of sugar
3/4 a stick of butter
1/2 cup nuts or semisweet chocolate chips

Here's what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together in a medium mixing bowl the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter at medium speed until creamy. I lost my patience at this step the first time but it is critical you get this mixed! I have a hand mixer and it works just great.
Once the butter and sugar are creamy, beat in the eggs and bananas. If you froze your bananas before making the bread, give them a few minutes to defrost. Your hands will get very cold if you don't exercise patience here. If you don't want as intense of a banana flavor, feel free to use 2 bananas. If you are using 3 bananas, you can rely on only one egg. However, if you are using only 2 bananas, be sure to use 2 eggs as well to keep the same moisture level in the bread.

In 3 parts, add the dry ingredients to the wet stuff. Be sure each part of the dry ingredients completely mixes with the wet ingredients before adding more.

If you choose, gently fold in chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, etc. Dusting these ingredients with a little touch of flour will prevent the add-ins from sinking to the bottom.
Grease your loaf pan and spread the batter evenly.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For me, that required only about 35 minutes of baking. The original recipe calls for an hour. Be sure you know your oven and if this is your first time baking, keep a close eye on your loaf!
Anyway, here's the final product.

We added blueberries this time because we had them on hand and Cory and I love blueberries. I'd probably go back to chocolate chips the next time around, but this was NO LESS DELICIOUS! Yum yum yum.

Happy baking!