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« My Life in Food Styling | Main | Judging the 2011 National Beef-Cook-Off »

The Siren of Banana Breads

By Katie Barreira

When you work in a test kitchen, it’s not only prudent, but also necessary to pace yourself when it comes to tasting. A sensible breakfast is key to staving off the hunger that can turn a modest bite or two into a plate-licking portion. Good sense went out the window on the morning when Carly, one of our budding interns, threw together this bread instead of throwing out a bunch of over-ripe bananas.

Resistance proved futile in the face of this ooey-gooey, so-wrong-it’s-right, banana bread. From its counter perch, flanked by crocks of Irish butter, the oven-warm bread called to me and each time I stole a glance, the loaf seemed to have shrunk, only increasing my sense of urgency for helping number three. It seemed that my colleagues were also struggling in the grips of this baked good, incapable of passing it by without shaving off another sliver.

As the morning wore on, we went so far as to excuse ourselves another slice under the guise of culinary experimentation, saying, “What about peanut butter? I bet that would be so good” or “Oh, my gosh; you have got to try it with cream cheese.” Finally, the last quarter loaf was banished to the office giveaway table, where it was at last done in by the editors.

Baking with Bananas
Bananas are best for baking when they’re slightly over-ripe. Ripen bananas at room temperature until the skin is almost entirely brown. Green bananas will take about 5 days to reach this stage; yellow bananas speckled with brown will take 2 to 3 days. To speed ripening, store bananas in a brown paper bag. (Tip: store bananas separately from other fruits; they release ethylene gas which will cause the other fruit to soften.)

No need to have a bake-off every time you have a brown banana. Just put the banana, skin and all, into the freezer. When you’re ready to use, remove from the freezer, slice off the ends, cut crosswise into thirds, then halve lengthwise and just pop out the flesh from the skin. Using the bananas while still partially frozen will create bread studded with hunks of banana. Yum!

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Button-Busting Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
3 large, ripe to over-ripe bananas
5 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease a loaf pan with butter.
In a large bowl, coarsely mash bananas with a fork. Add butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda and salt; stir until just combined. Gradually fold in flour, then chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until deep golden and set, about 50 minutes.

Double Duty - Use leftover banana bread to make French toast.

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Reader Comments (2)

Freezing whole bananas is a quick way to keep overripe bananas until you are ready for baking. It also let's you save up one or two bananas at a time until you have enough for baking one or more loaves of banana bread.

September 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchildrens clothing

Banana bread is a type of bread that is made with mashed bananas.It is often moist, sweet, cake like quick bread.

September 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPlaymobil

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