Friday, January 18, 2013

Classic Banana Bread



Is there anything more inviting, more comforting, than a warm loaf of banana bread? I've expounded on my love of all things banana before, from Ina's peerless cream-cheese topped version to addictive banana cream pie (!with salted caramel sauce!), to my own blueberry banana birthday quick bread "cake." There's always room for a banana baked good in my life!

I thought I'd take a visit to the OG and test drive Flour Bakery's version of banana bread - I still haven't visited the famed Boston bakery, but Joanne Chang's reputation precedes her, so I knew I'd get something good. Plus, I had some very sad-looking bananas that couldn't possibly get any more black staring at me each time I passed the kitchen.

The result? Expectedly delicious and everything you'd want from a banana bread (would you expect anything less from a Harvard grad?). I especially loved the caramelized crust and the slight tang from the creme fraiche. It's your favorite banana bread elevated just a touch so as not to render it unrecognizable!

Try it this weekend if you want to take any languishing bananas out of their misery! I'd say they get even better in ensuing days (tightly wrapped, of course).

Flour's Famous Banana Bread
Courtesy of Chef Joanne Chang via FN

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

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