Recipe by chefRD
From America's Test Kitchen I was skeptical about this recipe at first, but since I've made this now twice I know the method of exracting the juice from the banana's and reducing the liquid is the best way to make banana bread. Give this a try just once. It's has just two extra steps but well worth the little bit of extra work! From America's Test Kitchen: Why this recipe works: Recipes for ultimate banana bread abound, but because they include an overload of bananas for flavor, the bread’s texture is often soggy. We wanted a moist, not mushy, loaf that tasted of banana through and through. To impart lots of banana flavor, we needed to use a generous amount of bananas, but we needed to rid them of excess moisture. We turned to the microwave to help us out. We piled as many bananas in a bowl as we dared and zapped them in the microwave. Then we drained the now-pulpy fruit and mixed the fruit into a batter. We didn’t want to toss the flavorful liquid, so we reduced it and added it into the batter as well. Like a mock extract, our reduction infused the bread with ripe, intensely fruity banana flavor. With the flavor problem solved, a few minor tweaks completed the recipe: We exchanged the granulated sugar for light brown sugar, finding that the latter’s molasses notes better complemented the bananas. Swapping out the oil for the nutty richness of butter improved the loaf further. We also added toasted walnuts to the batter, finding that their crunch provided a pleasing contrast to the rich, moist crumb. Wondering if the crust might benefit from a little embellishment, we sliced a banana and shingled it on top of the batter. A final sprinkle of sugar helped the buttery slices caramelize and gave this deeply flavored loaf an enticingly crisp, crunchy top.
- 1 3⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 6 large bananas (very ripe)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs
- 3⁄4 cup light-brown sugar (packed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 cup walnuts (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
- Adjust rack to middle. Spray Loaf pan with non-stick spray.
- Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.
- Place five bananas in a extra large glass or other microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with a paring knife. (NOTE: Use the biggest bowl you have the first time I did this the juice went all over my microwave, even though I had plastic wrap on my bowl.) Microwave on High until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, just about 5 minutes *may be less depending on your microwave wattage*. Transfer bananas to a fine mesh drainer placed over a medium pot and allow to drain stirring and mashing the bananas occassionally, 15 minutes (you should end up with around 1/2 to 3/4 cup of liquid).
- Cook the liquid in the pot over medium-high heat till reduced to about 1/4 cup, takes about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat , stir reduced liquid into the bananas and mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in the eggs and butter, brown sugar and vanilla.
- Pour the banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. You don't want to "over-mix" or it will make it tough. Gently fold in walnuts (optional).
- Scrape batter into prepared pan. Slice remaining banana onto top (like shingles on a roof) layered leaving a 1 1/2 inch space in the very middle. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes.