Friday, November 28, 2008

Banana Bread

The smell of banana bread reminds me of waking up as a kid to delicious morning smells. I love the way it fills your house. My mom, aka 'Super Mom', made us breakfast every morning (and yes, she had a full-time job too). Waffles, oatmeal, pancakes, blueberry muffins... and banana bread (not all in the same day though!).

This isn't actually my mom's recipe, as I simply haven't asked her for it yet. But it tastes just like it, so my guess is that it will be pretty close. This one came from a friend, and it's HER mother's recipe. Go moms!

Mmm, delicious.

- As you gear up for the holidays, make a double batch and freeze a couple loaves to bring with you to brunches, family gatherings or as a hostess gift. You can freeze the loaves up to 6 months.
- To freeze banana bread, wrap tightly in saran wrap and then tinfoil or a ziploc sack. To eat a frozen loaf, you can thaw/warm it in the microwave or oven.
- Bought too many bananas? You can also freeze the banana's up to 3 months! They will turn dark or black in the freezer. When you are ready to make a batch of banana bread: remove bananas from the freezer and let thaw for 5-10 minutes, then peel them with a knife. You don't want them to go too soft, or they are very hard to peel. I also find that I need an extra banana to fill the cup portions required when using frozen.

Banana Bread

3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 eggs
1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups banana, sliced into small pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans), toasted or raw *optional

Preheat oven to 350. Grease one 9x13 inch pan, or two 7x3 inch loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, mix the flower and salt together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy (approximately 5 minutes). Then add the sugar and mix, eggs (one at a time) and mix, and finally the vanilla. Beat until everything is mixed well (an extra 1-2 minutes).

Then add the heavy cream and baking soda, and mix well. Next add the banana slices and mix until the banana has been mashed and fully integrated.

Add the flour/salt mixture slowly (1/2 cup at a time), while beating on medium speed. Be sure each addition is mixed in well before adding more flour. Mix a little longer past the last flour addition, and done.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45-50 minutes. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Twists on tradition:
- Mocha Banana Bread, from Cooking with Amy
- Chocolate Chip and Sour Cream Banana Bread, from Closet Cooking
- Cherry Coconut Banana Bread, from Treat a Week Recipes

Guten appetit!

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