Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

It always seems that whenever my family gets bananas at the grocery store, there are always a couple left over that don't get eaten. They just hang there on the banana hook and continue to become more and more ripe. Of course, what better to do with them then than to make a banana bread? I've already shared my favorite banana bread on here before, and although I love that recipe, I thought for once I might change it up and try a different recipe. This one in particular had caught my eye not too long ago on Allrecipes. It doesn't have too many reviews on it so far, but the small amount it has are quite positive. Most reviewers described the bread as having a wonderful flavor and a super soft texture thanks to the brown sugar. The one thing that worried me was that a couple of reviewers had trouble with the bread sinking in the middle the first time they tried it. But most people who had trouble with that had said that the second time they made it, it came out perfect, and provided tips for what they did to make it not sink. So with ripe bananas and tips on hand, I went to make this bread for breakfast.

One really interesting thing about this recipe is that it has very different directions than most quick breads. Generally for quick breads or muffins, you use the "mix, mix, pour, mix" method. As in, you mix together the dry ingredients in one bowl, mix together the wet ingredients in a second, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix again until combined. However, the mixing method for this recipe is actually more like a cookie recipe. You beat the brown sugar and butter until fluffy, then add the smashed bananas, egg, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk, and then add the dry ingredients. Using the advice of some of the reviewers, I beat my butter and sugar for quite a while, at least 7-8 minutes until it was incredibly light and fluffy. I also let my egg come up to room temperature, and though I didn't have time to let my milk come to room temperature, I zapped it in the microwave until warm. The result was an incredibly creamy and delicious batter that I had problems not eating straight out of the bowl! The reviewers also suggested that the cooking time wasn't long enough, so I let it go longer than called for until a toothpick came out clean. Sure enough, I ended up with a non-sunken, soft-textured, delicious tasting banana bread. I'm not sure if I like it better than the banana bread recipe I've already posted, but it's certainly on par with it, and definitely a recipe I'll keep and make again!

Brown Sugar Banana Bread
(from allrecipes)
Makes 1 9x5 inch loaf

  • 4 ripe bananas, cut into chunks (I only used 3 medium, since that was all I had)
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Place the bananas into a large plastic zipper bag, seal the bag, and smoosh the bananas with your fingers until very well mashed. Set the bananas aside. Place the brown sugar and butter into a mixing bowl, and mix on medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Cut a corner from the plastic bag, and squeeze the mashed bananas into the bowl of brown sugar mixture. With the electric mixer on medium speed, beat in the bananas, egg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and milk until the mixture is well combined. (Don't be surprised at this point if the mixture looks really curdled...once you add the flour, it'll be fine!) Switch the mixer to low speed, and gradually beat in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt just until the batter is smooth, about 1 minute. Spread the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the bread is set and lightly browned on top, about 40 minutes. (Mine took 50 minutes to bake, and some reviewers said their bread took closer to 60...just remember to watch it!) A toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean. Let cool in the pan slightly, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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