Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Best Banana Bread Ever. Really.

I got a weird batch of bananas a few weeks ago. They were green for days and then overnight developed brown spots while still green. When I peeled one open, it was mush inside. Solution for 7 mushy bananas? Banana bread. I found this recipe for Flour's Famous Banana Bread, mashed the bananas, sifted the dry ingredients, and went to the fridge to grab eggs and realized I only had one egg. Quick search online suggested I could use 1/3 cup of canned pumpkin to replace an egg in muffins or quick breads... so instead of the remaining 3 eggs, I used 1 cup pumpkin. The darn loaves took nearly 2 hours to bake, but seriously, the result was really, really, good. Flavorful, not too sweet, a soft and creamy crumb that's not soggy at all. I mean this is the-best-banana-bread-I've-ever-eaten good. I know that's a tremendous claim and I'm setting myself up for people to try the recipe and possibly be disappointed, but I love it. Dylan and my family loved it. Friends have loved it. 

Each time I've made this I've doubled it, and made a slight alteration--I've tried half Splenda and half sugar, I've forgotten to add the sour cream, I've skipped nuts, and I've used only 6 bananas instead of 7. Still amazing. I haven't made the original, but I can't imagine it would be more delicious that the recipe below. So here it is:

Pumpkin Banana Bread
(makes 2 loaves or 1 loaf and 12 muffins)

3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar (or 1 sugar, 1 Splenda)
1 egg
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 c. oil
6-7 ripe bananas, mashed
4 Tb. sour cream (or not, if you forget)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans (or not)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper-do not grease sides. I used parchment liners when I made muffins.
Sift flour, soda, cinnamon, salt several times.  In another bowl, whisk sugar, egg, and pumpkin on medium speed for a couple minutes. Drizzle in oil while whisking. Then add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and pecan--I also reserved a handful of pecans for the top. Split between loaf pans, top with nuts, and put in the lower middle of the oven. Bake for a LONG TIME. For me, the loaves have taken anywhere from 1 1/2 - 2 hours. The muffins took about 25 minutes. Test, test, test, and then enjoy the heck out of this bread. 

(The original recipe said bake 45 minutes to an hour. I've found the top will look done after 45 minutes, but the middle is complete soup for another hour or so. The first time, I laid a piece of foil over the top after about an hour, because I was worried about the pecans burning. They were okay. Without the pecans, there was no need for foil.)