I recently baked some banana bread for a friend and my boyfriend using America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe. If you haven’t heard about them, pull up a chair my friend!
America’s test kitchen experimentally determine the best recipes by isolating each ingredient/variable. They are pretty much the cooking resource I always turn to. Being a science geek, I also appreciate their scientific explanations for each procedure/ingredient. The fact that the recipes are generally fool-proof is an extra bonus because I am the worst baker in the world.
This banana bread recipe uses a whopping total of SIX bananas! (5 in the loaf and 1 shingled on top) Most recipes only call for 2-3.
To make it banana bread and not just bananas (because 5 is a heck of a lot of bananas), the liquid is drawn out of the bananas and simmered down to a concentrated banana juice! You’d be surprised by how much liquid is in bananas.
The end result is dense, super banana-y, and over the top with the candied bananas shingled on top. Now run, don’t walk to your kitchen.
The Ultimate Banana Bread
¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
6 large very ripe bananas, peeled
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
2. Place 5 bananas in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap; poke several steam vents with a knife. Microwave on high power until the bananas are have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Save the microwaved out liquid.
3. Transfer the bananas to a fine-mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes (you should have ~¾ cups liquid).
3. Combine the drained liquid and microwaved liquid in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until it’s reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir the reduced liquid into the bananas, and mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in the butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
4. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in the walnuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Slice the remaining banana diagonally into ¼-inch-thick slices. Shingle the banana slices on top of both sides of the loaf, leaving a 1½-inch-wide space down the center to ensure an even rise. Sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over loaf.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 55 to 75 minutes. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and continue to cool on a wire rack. ENJOY:)
(I prefer the banana bread cold from the fridge as the coldness make the bread denser and richer)