There is something to be said for a great recipe; one that you can go to again and again and get consistent results. This is one such recipe.
Banana bread is to the baking world what chocolate is to a pastry chef. It’s a basic- a building block that can become your signature, or unfortunately can become your downfall (cue flat piano keys here).
Due to my love of carbs and all things sweet bread, I have made my share of banana bread. Some of the recipes I tried were good- but heavy and a bit greasy from using oil as a main ingredient. Or I would come across one that said it was “healthy” but tasted about as moist as day-old, stale toast (with the same level of flavor). Others had so much banana, it felt like I might as well have eaten the actual fruit with a box of sugar dumped on top.
Side note here: I do not understand why people put nuts in banana bread. Or in any kind of sweet bread. Or brownies. They are a distraction and take up surface area where their could be a swirl of chocolate/cinnamon/and/or fruit filling. Or just more brown butter and banana.
I came across this recipe it after I read an article by Jeffrey Steingarden in Vogue about the irresistibility of brown butter. One more side note: why can you not access this article online? This is a travesty and something I would have linked you to.
Anyway, the questions began- what could I add brown butter to? And then Guilty Kitchen answered it for me. What about adding a basic to a basic: brown butter to banana bread? Brilliant.
This bread is the perfect texure- with a light crumble and dense, moist center. Roasting the bananas ahead of time rounds out the fruit’s sweetness, and the deep nuttinenss of the brown butter makes it smell and feel rich. Plus, it has whole wheat flour, and you can substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream if you are feeling super, Jillian-Michaels-level healthy. I have made it that way and it was delicious.
What You Need*:
3 medium bananas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup butter (I used unsalted)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup cake flour (I used all-purpose and it worked fine)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I prefer King Arthur brand)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
What You Do:
1. Roast bananas whole with the peel on for 15-20 minutes in a 350°F oven. They should look almost black; if you use frozen bananas here, make sure you drain off any extra liquid after you take the peels off.
2. Grease an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan.
3. In small saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Do not stir, instead swirl the pan and watch until it begins to foam (I like to use a pastry brush to sweep the little brown bits off the bottom of the pan). Once the foam begins to subside, and the butter has browned sufficiently, remove from heat and set aside. Swirl the brown bits one more time to make sure they don’t stick to the pan.
4. In medium sized mixing bowl, stir together brown butter, salt and sugar. Don’t forget the salt at this stage! This may be a bit OCD, but it makes a difference, I think. Also, if you use salted butter, I wouldn’t add more salt.
5. Stir the sour cream and vanilla into the sugar/butter mix. Mash bananas and add in as well (chunks are okay!).
6. In separate bowl, mix together the flours, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir until well combined.
7. Add the flour to the wet mix in two portions, but try not to over mix. I just stir until you can no longer see ribbons of flour.
8. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (in the already preheated to 350°F oven). 45 minutes worked great for me.
9. Cool 5-10 minutes in pan before turning out onto cooling rack. Turn upright and allow to cool completely, although you will be able to cut into it while it’s till warm. And it’s sooo good warm.
*As is par for the course with most of my recipes, this recipe is taken from The Guilty Kitchen with my additions in italics.