Banana Bread

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This post marks exactly (well, 2 days from exactly) 1 year of SMiLes by Meg.  In deciding what to make to mark this occasion, I wanted to go big.  I wanted to make something that was quintessentially me.  And I wanted it to be crazy complex and impressive to look at and eat.  But then I became paralyzed.  What would I make?  What recipe would fulfill everything I wanted it to do and more?  I couldn’t decide.

Then there were a couple more practical concerns – I wouldn’t be seeing anyone to pawn off this extravagant dessert on until Tuesday.  And, let’s be serious, anything that is that amazing to look at and eat isn’t made to last 3 days.

So, rather, I made something decadent that I could enjoy myself without feeling too bad about it: banana bread.  Now, last week, I had emailed my friend Shirlee, of Strawberry Lemonade Bar fame, to ask for her chocolate chip zucchini bread recipe.  I could remember her bringing it back to our dorm room after various school breaks, and how delicious it always was.  Apparently my mom was right – I invent memories that never happened.  She insisted that she actually made chocolate chip banana bread, and sent me that recipe instead.  Funny enough, the recipe she sent is actually the same one I’ve always used for banana bread, too, so you can expect to see it in a later post (it includes coconut, so I’m saving it for a time when I’m home with my mom).  However, I wanted to try something new.  With banana bread on my mind, I turned to the Claire’s Cornercopia Cookbook and decided to try her recipe.  You’ll remember that last time I tried one of these recipes, it was a bit of an adventure, but this time brought much more success.

So let’s dive right in.  First, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  I don’t often bake with salt, but since I messed with the last recipe I tried from Claire’s and it backfired, I decided to stay true to this recipe.

 

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And in staying true to the recipe, I encountered my first real test on the next step – whisk together 7 eggs.  Yes, you read that correctly: 7.  I was sure that was crazy.  Who puts 7 eggs in anything other than a custard?  Wouldn’t that majorly throw off any baking ratio science?  But, despite my serious shock, I continued diligently.  On the plus side, 7 eggs make a cool flower arrangement in a bowl.

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Then, whisk in the sugar and melted butter until well combined.

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Stir in the mashed bananas.  The batter will be exceptionally lumpy.  Roll with it.

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Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.  Don’t be fooled by what appears to be combined and just lumpy – those lumps are actually little flour grenades, waiting to be popped.  I kind of dragged my spoon up through the lumps to detonate as many as possible.

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Stir in the chopped walnuts.  Now, here I did alter Claire’s recipe – I was confident it wouldn’t cause too much trouble.  You see, adding 1/3 cup of walnuts looks like this:

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This didn’t even vaguely look like enough walnuts to me, so I poured in the rest of the bag, totaling around 1 cup.  Banana bread, if it is going to contain any sort of mix in, should contain generous amounts of said mix in.

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Pour the batter into a sprayed 9×5 inch loaf pan and bake at 350°F for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.  A toothpick should just come out clean.  I recommend starting to check on it around 45 minutes, since ovens can vary and you really don’t want to end up with dry banana bread.  Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack and cooling further, or serving immediately.

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Like the zucchini bread last week, this recipe kind of ended up with a ring of walnuts around the bottom and sides.  That’s really nothing to complain about.

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Unlike last week’s recipe, the consistency of the bread was more spongy than moist.  I’m assuming this is due to the 7 eggs that found their way into it.  However, it did give me a couple of what I think are awesome ideas.  First, I think it would be delicious served with some sort of spiced ice cream, like with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger – don’t be surprised if I end up testing that hypothesis and next week you learn how to make the ice cream.

Second, It would probably also make an exceptional vehicle for bread pudding.  All of the gooey goodness would just absorb right into it.  I’ve never made a bread pudding, so that could also be an experiment.

Anyways, Claire promises the bread will keep well for days if left wrapped in aluminum foil on the counter – I plan on doing that and having banana bread for breakfast for awhile.

Enjoy!

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Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large, ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly with a whisk.
  3. Add the butter and sugar to the eggs, whisking until combined.
  4. Stir in the bananas until combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just combined, making sure to pop any flour bubbles.
  6. Stir in the walnuts.
  7. Pour batter into sprayed 9×5 inch loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out just clean.  Cool 5 minutes in pan before serving.
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