08 November 2010

Banana Bread

This summer I went to my cousin Summer's wedding in Dublin.  And I fell in love with Ireland...it's so green, has so much interesting history, and don't even get me started on the accents--I could listen to it all day!  I could be getting yelled at or insulted, but it wouldn't matter.  That accent is awesome (that being said, the Irish are about the nicest people you'll ever meet, so you probably won't be yelled at or insulted).  It was a fantastic trip.

During our stay there I was introduced by the groom's family to a wonderful cafe/concept/cookbook called Avoca.  During one of the family dinners, they served several dishes from this cookbook, and I was hooked!  As soon as we got back from our trip, I ordered one of the cookbooks, appropriately titled "Avoca Cafe Cookbook" (it's also available on Amazon.com if you are interested).  It's got all sorts of recipes that call for all sorts of fresh veggies and fruits. It's all very fresh, uncomplicated food.  
This banana bread is one of the recipes I fell in love with.  It works out pretty well for my lifestyle, which is to say I buy lots of fruit with the intention of eating it and being oh so healthy, but then it goes bad before I get to it.  Which is where banana bread comes in handy.  For me, bananas are at their raw best when they are just barely still green and firm. As soon as a brown spot appears, though, the flavor and texture changes, and I just can't eat it.  But add some flour, sugar and nuts, it's a whole different story.  The browner the bananas the better!  They somehow get more banana-y or something in recipes and this one really seems to highlight it.

Some notes about this recipe:  If you've got a kitchen scale, use the weights...those are better measurements.  I've converted to volume measurements from the weight.  But of course once you start moving flour around, so much air can get incorporated that the volume can change, but I don't think the differences will be too tragic.  Also, don't get too enthusiastic with the mixing of the batter/dough.  Beating all the ingredients will work to make the bread tougher, so just get the stuff more or less incorporated.  The bananas, I like to keep them a little chunky, so when you bite down into the bread, you get some good bits of banana, but that's just me (the original recipe also only calls for 4 bananas, but I think the extra one adds a little more moistness).  And last, but not least, if you need a little portion control, this recipe also makes 12 great muffins.  Just follow the same recipe, divide into 12 lined muffin cups, and bake for approx 20 minutes.

Banana Bread
adapted from The Avoaca Cafe Cookbook
click here for printer friendly recipe

8 oz all purpose flour (somewhere between 1 3/4 and 2 cups)
1 tsp salt
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 oz sugar (a heaping 1/2 cup)
1 egg, beaten
3 fl oz canola oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 oz pecans, chopped (heaping 1/2 cup, or to your taste)
4-5 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and stir in the sugar.  Mix in the egg, oil and vanilla, but do not beat.  The batter/dough will seem way too dry, but don't fret, that's OK. 
Fold in the pecans and mashed bananas, using a fork.  It will start to look a little more like a batter, but again don't beat.

Spoon into a lined loaf pan and bake in an oven preheated to 350F for 50-60 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and springs back when prodded gently with you finger.  Leave in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

1 comment:

  1. Yum and why did I bring brownies to class when you had this gorgeous banana bread!?