April 12, 2010

Banana Bread

I had three bananas sitting on my counter threatening to turn into a big pile of black mush, so I decided to make banana bread this past weekend. I have lots of different recipes for banana bread and decided to use one from the Arugula Files blog that I had printed months ago. She adapted Mark Bittman's banana bread recipe and added a sugary buttery crumb topping. Let's just say that I am still cleaning up the mess this bread made. 
Looks harmless, right?

The buttery sugary topping overflowed the loaf pan and dripped all over my pizza stone that was on the rack below it (I usually take it out of the oven when baking other things, but decided to keep in this time - big mistake) and the bottom of my oven. Nasty greasy mess. The recipe says to bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the top is browned and a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Well, it all looks brown because of the crumb topping, so that is not a helpful indicator. Many toothpick pokes at 50 minutes came out clean, so I pulled the bread out. The end pieces are delicious, but the middle ended up being a battery uncooked mess (dear toothpick, why did you fail me?). And the topping has since sunk into the goopy mess.

If I were to make this again, I would certainly use less topping and cook longer. But I think I will try a different recipe next time. This one tasted too bread-y to me. Maybe I would like a banana cake, instead of a bread. But then I would have to feel guilty eating it for breakfast!

Banana Crumb Cake Wonderment
from the Arugula Files Blog


1 stick butter, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour (Mark Bittman's original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour - if I had looked that up prior to making this, I probably would have use the ww flour)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts (I omitted)
1/4 cup coconut (I was weary to add coconut, but it was quite delicious)

Crumb Topping
1/2 stick butter, room temperature (use less - your waistline and your oven will thank you!)
3/4 cup brown sugar (again, use less)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used about 1/4 teaspoon and it was almost too much)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5 in loaf pan.
2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream the butter and beat in the eggs and bananas. (I did this in my stand mixer.)
3. Stir butter/banana mixture into the dry ingredients; do not mix more than necessary.
4. Gently stir in the vanilla, nuts and coconut.
5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. ("Pour" is not quite the right term, I would say "transfer". This batter is so thick that it does nothing resembling the common useage of the word "pour".)
6. Mash the topping ingredients together in a bowl with a fork and add to the top of the batter.
7. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

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