Not only is my lovely friend Stephanie beautiful, intelligent and talented enough to design gorgeous silk handbags, scarves and other accessories, she also bakes the best banana bread I have ever had. A few years ago, she shared the recipe with me but it wasn’t until today, on the first day of 2008, that I baked up a loaf that I think was just about as good as hers.
I have an aversion to baking with shortening so I was pleased to find her recipe used good old-fashioned butter. I know some bakers say that the trans fats in shortening are the key to great baked goods but something about that white stuff creeps me out a little. This is also the first recipe that I have followed where the butter is melted and then added at the end instead of whipped in at the beginning.
Since I have made this many times and just finally got it right, I have included my tips and tricks below. I have to say, these slices were about as perfect as banana bread gets. Washed down with a glass of milk, it started my year out right. I suggest you start rotting some bananas and get baking!
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup butter, melted
Grease and flour loaf pans. The original recipe called for two 7 x 3 inch loaf pans but Steph prefers four mini loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar. Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Slowly stir in the melted butter just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If you use the mini loaf pans, adjust to about 30 minutes. Just take a peek and if the top is starting to brown and looks cooked, try the toothpick to test for doneness. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
– Banana size varies drastically. Today I used the largest I have used in the past and the bread was so moist and flavorful. If you have really small bananas, add an extra half.
– What is a ripe banana? Well, I like mine almost all brown with some specs of yellow. Once I used all brown and it smelled a bit like alcohol. I think they were fermenting and on their way to banana liqueur :)
– Mash bananas well with a potato masher or fork but leave some small chunks. Don’t go all the way to baby food consistency.
– Do NOT over mix this batter. I would not use an electric mixer – just a few circles of the wrist while incorporating the ingredients.
– Do NOT overbake. The moist, banana-y center should be soft and crumbly.
– Let the bread cool completely before storing. The edges and outside will get sticky and icky if you wrap it or put it in a ziploc too soon.
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