Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All Time Favorite Banana Bread

Let me start off by saying that this banana bread is hands down, the best one I have ever made. It always turns out great and is a winner with everyone else that has it. You can make it plain or you can make it with a crumbly topping. Who doesn't love brown sugar, cinnamon and butter crumbilies. If crumbilies is not a word, it is now. There is just something about it that that makes the banana bread extra special.

I always have bananas on hand since I buy a bunch every week and never can finish them all by myself before they start to get too brown and squishy. When that happens, I just pop them in the freezer so I have them on hand to make banana bread (or muffins or pancakes or smoothies). You just pull them out, set them in a bowl and let them get squishy. If you want to speed this up, you can also put them in the microwave on low for a couple of minutes at time to get them to defrost quickly. Either way works. Just be aware that even though the skin on the banana looks yellow and spotty, once it defrosts, it will be black. Don't let that scare you. Just open the peel and the banana will literally slide out! Once you have the bananas defrosted and ready to go, you are almost there. A few more wet and dry ingredients and you are ready to bake this yummy bread. If you are a crumble person (and trust me, just try it - you'll like it!), make sure to put these on before baking and spread them out evenly. You want crumbilies all over. Even in the corners!

This bread is great for breakfast or even for a snack. You can even lower the fat and calories by replacing the oil with unsweetened apple sauce and the eggs for egg substitute. I have done this plenty of time and let me tell you, no one has been able to tell the difference! The other good thing about this bread is that it freezes great. I usually make two loaves at a time - one to have to snack on and one to have in the freezer if guests come over or if I need a quick breakfast one morning. Just take it out of the freezer the night before and it will be ready to eat the next morning.  It tastes just as fresh as when you made it! Are you ready to try this one now? Let's go!

Note - When I made this, the tester came out clean, but after it cooled and  cut into it, it was gooey. I am not sure what happened, maybe the bananas weren't fully mixed in or it just wasn't cooked enough. Maybe it was because this was the first time I made this recipe sans crumbilies. Ya, that has to be it. That has never happened before, but at least the ends were still good. I will be trying this one again tonight, but with crumbilies!

see, told you the bananas got black

swirling flour

baking bread

done and looking good, right?

tester came out clean, but the bread was definitely not done. What happened?

Banana Bread (adapted from The New Cookbook - Limited Edition by Better Homes & Garden)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 recipe streusel nut topping (recipe below)

Grease the bottom of one 9x5x3 inch or two 7 1/2x3 1/2x2 inch loaf pans. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, bananas, sugar and oil. Once blended, slowly add the dry mixture and mix until blended. Fold in walnuts, if using. Spread batter into pan and sprinkle streusel topping over the top.

For the Streusel Nut Topping: In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and 3 tablespoons flour. Using your hands or a pasty blender, cut in 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional).

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes for one loaf or 40 to 45 minutes for two pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. If needed, cover loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent over browning). Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

Even though this recipe says let cool completely, I never follow that rule. I am too impatient to try a slice. It is so delicious straight from the oven and I bet you will have a hard time resisting too when the bread smells up your whole house while it is baking.

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