The basic formula for banana bread is something like this; savory but not quite so savory that you want it with dinner, but never quite sweet enough to be passed off as a dessert, whilst its namesake bananas have ‘vanished’ into the bread itself.
That’s more or less what we’ve put together today, but we’ve also added in a few seasonal twists. Now, without further delay, let’s get to it.
Why You’ll Love Today’s Banana Bread
1) Keeps Excellently. Wrapped in plastic wrap and then swathed in tinfoil, today’s banana bread can keep nicely at room temperature for several days, or up to a week in the fridge without any loss of moisture, texture, or flavor.
2) A Quick Bite For Breakfast. This really goes without saying, but heated up either on the griddle or in the toaster oven with some butter and marmalade, this bread is a satisfying ‘sweet bite’ for breakfast, an excellent alternative to the more familiar warmed muffins.
3) Guiltless Midnight Snack. This is how I personally enjoy banana bread the most – at night, unheated, with a generous layer of orange preserve. It’s satisfying, largely guiltless, and fuss-free.
4) Super Simple To Make. The process for making today’s bread couldn’t be simpler, is a recipe that’s easily accessible to home bakers of all skill levels.
Ingredient Notes and Tips
1) Ripe Bananas – How Ripe Is Ripe? For just a moment, let’s set aside the green vs yellow vs blotchy banana debate – that’s not what we’re here to settle, as regardless of how you prefer your raw bananas, today’s recipe ‘requires’ a certain amount of ripeness. In fact, ‘ripeness’ will likely determine the amount of moisture and the quality of flavor in the bread. First off, underripe bananas range from green to ‘green tinted,’ and it is here that the flesh of the banana is firm and starchy, with a ‘sharp’ or citrusy ‘bite’ as opposed to being sweet, in addition to being on the dry side. Obviously, even if this suits your palate, this won’t make for a nice bread. Conversely, bright yellow bananas, which are ‘perfectly ripe,’ still aren’t quite what you want either, since the flesh of the banana is still on the firm side, and the sugar within still hasn’t fully matured. Instead, you want bananas that are on the cusp of being ‘overripe,’ with a copious amount of blotches, but without the meat inside having gone brown and mushy. In this case, the banana has started to soften and moisten, while the sweetness has begun to mature. These qualities are the perfect ingredients for a good banana bread.
2) Dates – Some Pointers. I cannot stress enough that quality dates are ‘not’ overly sticky, and are not packed with crystalized sugar. Overly sticky dates indicate a low quality fruit prior to drying, while crystalized sugar is either evidence of the manufacturer seeking to veil imperfections or to mask unsweet fruit, or – even worse – is evidence that the dates were not properly packed, leading to the fruit oozing off its natural sugar. Instead, the best quality dried dates are soft but not sticky to the touch, with skin that doesn’t flake or peel. The interior of the date should be ‘moist’ and ‘soft,’ but not overly so.
3) Turbinado Sugar – Fun to say, but what is it? Contrary to popular misconception, this is ‘not’ unrefined sugar. On the contrary, Turbinado sugar is partially refined sugar, placing it midway between unrefined brown sugar, and wholly refined white sugar. Due to its lack of refining/processing, standard brown sugar retains much of its previous residual molasses, giving the sugar its ‘caramel-like’ flavor and sticky/clumpy texture, as well as a host of ‘fortifying’ minerals. By contrast, Turbinado sugar, being only partially refined, contains ‘part’ of its residual molasses, and very few of its original ‘fortifying’ minerals. This has the effect of leaving it in a somewhat ‘odd’ place in culinary terms, since it’s too ‘weak’ to act as a stand in for regular brown sugar, but also somewhat too heavy and ‘caramel-like’ to stand in for fully processed sugar. For myself, I tend to think of it as a ‘lighter’ form of brown sugar, and as such that makes it perfect for recipes like today’s banana bread.
Other Great Winter Items
1) Savoiardi Cookies. A quintessential Christmas cookie, these were a traditional favorite in my home growing up.
2) Diner Style Pancakes. We all love those incredibly hardy pancakes you get in the diner, and we love them even more on chilled wintry mornings. Here’s my take on those perennial favorites.
3) Biscoff Bundt Cake. One of my new favorite ways to prepare bundt cakes is with a little help from Biscoff spread. This is hardy and warming, making it a great wintry dessert.
If You Enjoyed Today’s Recipe…
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