Saturday, December 8, 2012

Beth's Best Banana Bread

When I get a new cookbook with lots of photos in it, I make my husband sit down and flip through it with me. I do this under the guise of getting his opinion on what looks good, subtly implying that I'll prepare whichever ones he finds the most appetizing. But really, I do this just because I love a new cookbook and want to share that joy with someone - even someone who is less enthusiastic than myself. Plus, it's good payback for all the decoys, bullets, and variations of fishing line I've had to stare at in the Cabela's catalog as he outlines the pros and cons of each one for me. He means well.

I remember during one of these forced cookbook photo review sessions seeing a pic of half-eaten pasta, the sauce remnants smeared against the empty section of the plate. "Ew, why would they do that?" he asks.  "Totally unappetizing." Yet, here I am, showing you an empty plate as a representation - a metaphor, if you will - of the delicious banana bread that was. However, I have an excuse:  a cute little bugaboo snagged the last piece.

This is more like banana cake than banana bread, really. It bakes up well (no flat squat loaves here), has tons of banana with the right level of sweetness, and the streusel on top is a great addition (although you can see it's pretty messy). And since my hubby loves chocolate chips in his, I made a special loaf just for him, swirling a hefty handful of chips into the batter.

I pulled the banana bread out of the oven late at night. We cut into each still-warm loaf (mine pecans only, his with chocolate chips) and stood by the sink in our pjs with a shared glass of milk.  As we munched, staring at the darkness outside the window, he turns and tells me, "You know, I think this is the best banana bread you've ever made."

That man knows how to warm my heart.

(Josie, this recipe is for you.)

Beth's Best Banana Bread
Adapted from Miette, a cookbook of sweets from a San Francisco bakery. It's loveliness. Makes two standard 8" loaves. (Quick tip: if you don't have kosher salt and use regular table salt instead, remember to reduce the salt measurement by half)

1/2 c. pecan pieces
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbls. cold butter
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Banana bread
2 and 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 and 1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 medium, soft bananas, peeled and roughly mashed
1/2 c. pecan pieces

Butter two 8" x 4" loaf pans and dust with flour. Tap out the excess flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the streusel, put all the streusel ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely combined. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the banana bread, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk sugar, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until well combined and lightened in color, about 4 min. Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in oil, whisking just until combined. Add the banana mash and whisk just until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and pecans, whisking just until combined; do not overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pans and sprinkle tops with streusel. Bake until the breads have risen nicely and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 mins. Cool in the pans for 15 mins, then remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.


Josie said...

I am in love with this recipe! It's being made today! Thank you!

Liwia . said...

Cool bloog! :)

gwensans said...

Yum! Thank you for sharing. I just tried Bavarian's kosher bread and it is scrumptious. Do you have a favorite kosher bread brand? I am not the best baker..