Quick Banana Bread Pointers
Roasted! Be prepared -- after roasting, the bananas become dark and ugly, but they're oh, so sweet! Roasting caramelizes their natural sugars, giving them a rich sweetness and making them soft enough to stir into the batter without mashing.
Grease It Up Grease the bottom of the pan just 1/2 inch up the sides for a uniform loaf with a slightly rounded top. If you grease all the way up the sides of the pan, the loaf will have a flat top.
Mix It Right Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir until the flour is moistened. The batter should be thick and lumpy.
Mixing quick bread just right is important so you end up with a bread that has a delicate texture and consistent crumb. Overmixing causes gluten in the flour to develop, trapping the leavening in pockets. The result a heavy, uneven loaf with tunnels.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil. Arrange five bananas (peels left on) in the pan. Prick banana skins with the tines of a fork at 1-inch intervals. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool bananas on baking pan. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or two 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-inch loaf pans. Set pan(s) aside.
Tip: Ripe bananas -- those soft to the touch with brown spots on the peel -- are usually called upon for banana bread. When you roast bananas first, it doesn't matter how ripe they are before baking.
2. In a large bowl combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl stir together 2 eggs (lightly beaten), 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter); set aside. Using a small sharp knife, split the roasted banana peels. Measure 1-1/2 cups of the roasted bananas (gently press the roasted bananas into measuring cup). Stir into egg mixture. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in 1/4 cup walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle Streusel-Nut Topping (below) over batter.
4. Bake for 55-60 minutes for one pan or 45-55 minutes for two pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover bread loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking. Cool in pan(s) on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan(s). Cool completely on rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 16 servings.
Streusel-Nut Topping: In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in 4 teaspoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped walnuts.
Change It Up! Raspberry-Dark Chocolate Banana Bread Prepare Banana Bread as directed, except stir 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces into the batter with the walnuts. After spooning batter into pan(s), use the tip of a spoon to swirl in 1/4 cup raspberry preserves (if using two pans, stir 2 tablespoons into each).
After the baked bread stands overnight, in a small microwave-safe bowl combine 1/3 cup dark chocolate pieces and 1/2 teaspoon shortening. Microwave, uncovered, at 70 percent power for 20 seconds; stir. Continue to microwave until melted and smooth, stirring every 15 seconds. Drizzle over bread. If you like, place 1/4 cup raspberry preserves in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 20-30 seconds or until melted, snipping any large pieces of fruit. Drizzle over the top of the bread.