I’ve been hoarding black bananas again.
And despite it being another one of those mega awful hot days, I was waaay jonesing for some banana bread. I blame Great Harvest entirely, since mom and I got a slice there the other day (their banana bread is BOMB), and ever since my black bananas have been singing their siren song from the fridge. I had to relegate them there anyway, since they were ridiculously ripe. Aka perfect for banana bread, mmm. At least the fog rolled in this evening, so that by six turning on the oven was actually feasible… I didn’t exactly think that baking banana bread in my car was going to be a terribly successful operation. I mean, maybe if I left it in there long enough… but no. I needed banana bread. NOW.
My only issue with banana bread is that I’m still on the hunt for the best ever. I’ve lost track of how many recipes I’ve tried, but more often then not they end up in banana bread pudding, and I wind up disgruntled and still jonesing. Either the flavor isn’t right… they’re healthy but too ‘hydrated’ (a nice substitute for the word moist, don’t you think? Ewww. Moist. What an unappealing word), or delicious but nutrient-free. Ugh. Nothing more annoying than a dissatisfying banana bread.
Luckily, this time I found a winner! This ranks high up on my favorites list: it IS really tasty. The next test will be how it tastes tomorrow… And it’s not insanely bad for you, at least. I was pleased with it for another reason as well—-the center didn’t sink! Finallyyyy, a banana bread that didn’t end up with a sinkhole for a center. Bleh. SOME people might like the goopy undercooked center… but I am sooo not one of them. My favorite part is crust, hands down. This banana bread is just sweet enough without being overpowering, and is (I think) the perfect consistency (not too hydrated…). I like the addition of vinegar—it brings out the banana flavor wonderfully. This bread’s also decently okay for you (Not wonderful, but hey. Indulge a little!), with whole grains and a bit less fat than usual, as well as slightly less sugar. And duh, it’s got buhhhnahhhnuhhs! Potassium, heyheyhey! Who doesn’t like a good hit of potassium hidden away inside a baked good? Especially when you make an ice cream sandwich out of your bread. Oooooo. Brilliant.
Perfectly Hydrated Banana Bread
Delicious plain…but really, are you going to pass up ice cream after I showed you the pictures?! No, I thought not.
Very slightly adapted from The Galley Gourmet.
- 1 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- just over 1/2 c sugar (or 1/3 + 1/4ish)
- 5 tbsp butter or Earth Balance (I happened to use EB for this one), soft-ish
- 2 eggs
- 1 c mega ripe mashed banana (I used 2.5 largeish ones)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt (I used nonfat)
- turbinado sugar for sprinkling, if you have it
Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan, or mini loaves if you’re feeling fancy.
In a medium-ish bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and powder, and cinnamon. Set aside. In another bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together sugar and butter until fluffy and combined. Add in flour mixture in two batches, beating to combine. Once incorporated, beat in eggs until combined (avoid overbeating! No one likes tough banana bread… and besides, overworking the dough can negatively affect the rise).
In the recently vacated bowl that previously held flour, mash bananas. Add in vanilla extract, vinegar, and yogurt and stir to combine. Toss the contents of this bowl into your larger bowl, and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes. Mine was perfectly done at just 50, but check to be sure your oven’s cooperating anyway. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Wait until cool to scarf… or not!