Friday, April 20, 2012

Perfect Banana Bread


Banana Bread is a beautiful thing.  You take fruit that no one in their right mind would eat because it's so old, mash it up, mix it with a few choice baking ingredients, and then turn it into something...well, beautiful. This banana bread is sweet and incredibly moist, and everyone you bake it for will love you.  


I bake about two or three of these a week, and I almost never bake them in my kitchen.  I prefer to eat bananas that are green--mutant green--so they get used up in my kitchen immediately.  I do not want to risk having a brown-spotted banana in my kitchen.  The thought sickens me.


However, I love finding overly ripe ones in other kitchens, because that means I get to bake one of these babies.  


The bananas you use in banana bread are the opposite of the kind I like--they need to be black.  You need to look at them and think, "There is no possible way I am going to use these, they are too old and gross."  That, my friends, is when you know that they are perfect for making banana bread.  




These bananas aren't quite ripe enough, but I used them anyway because I was desperate to get my banana bread on. Do as I say, not as I do. Ahem.


So, let's get started.
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350.




First, mash up two old bananas with a fork.  




Crack a couple of eggs into the bowl, and whisk them into the mashed banana until it looks ever weirder than the mashed banana by itself.


**Usually, at this point, you'll need to add a tsp. of vanilla, but I don't have a picture of that because I am imperfect and forgot the vanilla.  I realized it about 5 minutes into baking time, so naturally I pulled the pan out and put a teaspoon of vanilla in it and stirred.  Obviously this is normal. But it's okay if you forget stuff and add it in later--it makes it your own creation, and that's the fun part of baking.**




Next you add a cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar and whisk it all together.   




Then add 1/2 a cup of canola oil and 1/2 cup of milk and whisk again.




Here's something you need to know about me if we are going to make this work: I generally don't sift all my dry ingredients together.  I understand this is a baking sin, but let me tell you: my banana bread, cookies, brownies, whatever they are, all turn out fine.  It also cuts down on the dishes...


So, add a teaspoon of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt.  If you really want to, you can add it with the two cups of flour we'll be adding in a bit--that's fine too.






Measure out two cups of flour and whisk those in as well.




The batter will be fairly thin; the really wet batter makes the bread super moist.  
If you feel so inclined and want to go the more traditional route, you can add 1/4 cup of walnuts or pecans at this point.  No one in my family likes nuts in their breads, cookies, etc., so I tend to leave them out. However, I happen to know that pecans are really tasty in this bread. Feel free to add Chocolate chips, nuts, coconut shavings...The world is your oyster.




Grease an 8 inch loaf pan and pour the batter in. 


Bake the bread for about an hour and twenty minutes.  If your oven runs hot, you might have to reduce the bake time by about ten minutes.
  
Take it out when it looks like this:




Tah-Dah! I told you it would be beautiful!


Your bread might look a little darker than you expect, but that's perfect.  There's a lot of sugar in this guy and it caramelizes really nicely.


************


Because this is my first blog post, I'll explain the whole "lekker" thing to you guys.  Lekker is Dutch (and German, for that matter, but I'm half Dutch) for "yummy" or delicious.  My wonderful Oma (you'll be hearing a lot about my Dutch grandmother) used to ask me every time she cooked something for me if what she made was "lekker." It's what you say when you think something is just delicious.  


I hope you and your loved ones enjoy this.  


So, is it lekker?


Love, 
Annelise




The Recipe:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


2 mashed, ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1/4 cup pecans *optional


 Mash ripe banana with a fork. Whisk in two eggs until combined. Don't forget the vanilla.  I almost forgot to write it here...again. 
Add the sugars and whisk until smooth.
Whisk in the oil and milk and then add the salt and baking soda (salt and baking soda can be sifted together with the flour and added later if desired).
Combine the flour with the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined.
Grease an 8 inch loaf pan, pour the batter in, and bake for about an hour and twenty minutes! If your oven runs really hot, you might need to decrease the baking time by about ten minutes.
Take it out of the oven and enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. I love it. I want an oven so I can try all your recipes!! If you ever write a cookbook you should definitely call it The Lekker Kitchen! :0)

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  2. I Love it, love it! Perfect name and great step by step pics. I am in agreement about your future cookbook title that you will personally sign for me.

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