What does one do with darkly speckled bananas that are too ripe to enjoy? Banana Bread! The overripe fruits creates a naturally sweet bread that is well complemented with toasted walnuts and a moist interior! I love adding fruits and vegetables into baking, it’s a great way to use up the excess items in your pantry without throwing it out. What a shame it would be to throw out some deliciously ripe bananas when in place you can enjoy banana bread!!! Plus the delicious fragrances of bananas and bread dancing in your kitchen will make you look forward to darkly speckled bananas.
The key to a successful banana bread is ….well…your bananas! The darker the bananas, the better the flavor of the bread will be as the ripe banana will infuse a delicious taste throughout the bread. If you are buying bananas strictly to make banana bread, store them in a dark and cool place with some ripe fruit to help speed up the speckling process. Also, when making this bread you may need to add an additional amount of sugar if your bananas are not completely speckled.
The moistness of the bread comes from plain yogurt. There are many different ways to create banana bread and some recipes may call for milk or other dairies (sour cream, buttermilk, etc). I find that plain yogurt works perfectly for this cake as it doesn’t produce a tang (like that of buttermilk) and doesn’t overpower the bananas. In fact, the plain yogurt really enhances the taste of the bananas in this bread! Using milk will cause an unsightly crust and using sour cream will create a cake that is too dense (like that of coffee cake). A little bit of yogurt..goes a long way!
This bread also calls for toasted walnuts. This is different from the average recipe which adds the walnuts directly into the mixture. Toasting the walnuts adds a nice crisp to the nuts but also brings out the natural oils for added flavor. The mild and nutty taste complements the fragrant taste of the bread beautifully!
Banana Bread (from Baking Illustrated)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup of chopped walnuts (toast for about 5 – 10 minutes)
- 3/4 cup of sugar (adjust to 1 cup if bananas are not darkly speckled/ripe)
- 3/4 tsp of baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 ripe bananas mashed (~1 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup of plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs @ room temp
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter – melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- Sift together – flour, cooled walnuts, baking soda, & salt and set aside.
- Mash bananas with a fork or a potato masher.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together plain yogurt, melted butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just incorporated ( until there are no streaks of dry ingredients). Do not over mix as that will overdevelop the gluten in the flour and will cause a tough bread.
- Pour into a well greased 9 inch loaf pan or a bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 – 55 minutes. Once ready, let cool for 3 minutes and remove from pan. Cool bread on wire rack.
- Storage – can keep at room temp for 3 days, after that refrigerate.