Banana Bread, Stepped Up

Bananas are the common denominator fruit in our family, so I try to buy them every week along with a few individual favorites.  Sometimes, however, the bananas ripen too quickly and it’s banana bread time.  I think banana bread is a great snack and lunchbox item; unfortunately, Ken can’t stand banana bread, so I make it for me and Kurt.  He had a recipe that we can no longer find (probably in my hanging  file of unsorted recipes), so I try a new one every time I’ve got a couple of black bananas on my counter.

I found an interesting recipe on the King Arthur site; you can find the original recipe here.  It’s not your traditional banana and nuts bread; the addition of warm spices, and honey in addition to the sugar, elevated this homey loaf.  The most surprising ingredient was the orange marmalade– just a couple of tablespoons.  Now THAT pushed me from curious recipe reader to adventurous baker!

Note:  All ingredients should be at room temperature to promote even baking.

Not Just Banana Bread  (from King Arthur website)

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 2/3 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c mashed ripe bananas
  • 3 TB orange marmalade
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 2 1/4 c flour (all purpose)
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan (I use Pampered Chef loaf pans).  Set pan aside.

In a small bowl mash the bananas and mix in the orange marmalade, vanilla, and honey. Set aside

The yummy stuff-- banana, orange marmalade, honey, vanilla!

The yummy stuff– banana, orange marmalade, honey, vanilla!

In another bowl, lightly beat the two eggs.  Set aside.

More wet stuff

More wet stuff

In a large mixing bowl, place the butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, baking powder and soda.

Not sure why the spices and leavening go in here instead of with the flour...

Not sure why the spices and leavening go in here instead of with the flour…

Cream until smooth and fluffy.

Looks odd to see creamed butter and sugar that's TAN!

Looks odd to see creamed butter and sugar that’s TAN!

Add the banana mixture.

Wet stuff, batch 1

Wet stuff, batch 1

Add the beaten eggs.  Stir until everything has been well incorporated.

Wet stuff, batch 2

Wet stuff, batch 2

Add the flour and stir until flour just disappears.  Don’t over mix!

Stir gently, but thoroughly

Stir gently, but thoroughly

Add the chopped walnuts (I didn’t bother to chop them, I just crushed them in my hands to break them up a bit) and stir them into the batter.

Love the crunch of walnuts in my banana bread!

Love the crunch of walnuts in my banana bread!

Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan and let it rest for 10 minutes on the counter (I have NO idea why this instruction exists, but I did it anyway).

Resting batter

Resting batter

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, then tent top of pan with foil to prevent burning (this was a good idea since the bread bakes for such a long time).  Continue baking for 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out with no more than a few crumbs attached.  (I take it out at this point rather than waiting for the tester to come out clean– I think the bread stays moister longer).  Let loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Beautifully high loaf!

Beautifully high loaf!

After 10 minutes, unmold loaf onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Smells great out of the oven!

Smells great out of the oven!

Afterthoughts:

The KA site says this loaf has a mild to medium banana flavor, and I agree.  Next time, I will use more banana since I like a stronger banana flavor.  However, the addition of the spices and orange marmalade are fantastic!  The cake is surprisingly moist and remains so as long as you store it in a plastic bag or container.  (I kept ours out for a a day or two, then stored in the refrigerator since only Kurt and I were eating it).

I’m also not sure why other ingredients were added to the butter and sugar; I probably won’t do that again largely because I’m a creature of habit and put spices and leavening in with the dry (flour) ingredients.  Ditto on the 10 minute counter rest.  (In other words, I’m doing it my way).

It’s a great change from your everyday banana bread– try it, you’ll see!

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5 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods, Family, Food

5 responses to “Banana Bread, Stepped Up

  1. Sue M.

    Mmm…. Sounds really good. When you’ve made it “my way,” let us know if you notice any difference in the bread.

  2. Pingback: The Guy Domestic – Basic Cheese Blintz Loaf | TheGuyDomestic

  3. Pingback: How to make banana cake | frogandcount

  4. I tried this one and the Walnuts really make all the difference. They add such excellent texture to a cake which can sometimes fail in that department. Bananas are delicious, and this remains a personal favourite, but sometimes it’s difficult to counteract the squdginess – your Walnut addition does this excellently with no need to add more flour and make a stodgy consistency.

  5. Pingback: Mango-Banana Bread–A Perfect Post-Nap Treat | The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

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