Banana Bread Challenge

So me and my friend Shelly had a banana bread challenge this weekend.  Zach was supposed to compete, but said all the bananas were too green. Seem suspicious to me since I went to one of the same stores. Ask the produce guy – they are always happy to get rid of what is perceived as “over ripe” fruit. And spotty brown bananas are required for banana bread – according to my mom and she is, without a doubt, an authority on the subject.

My mom made so many loafs of banana nut bread for Christmas it was ridiculous. I feel like I spent most of my Christmas breaks from DD_0206school chopping individual pecans into four pieces each. Yes. I did that. These days, as the baker myself, I’m more relaxed in my attitude. Rough chop – totally works.  Three bananas are needed for 1 1/2 cups of mashed bananas, and you need the full-sized loaf pan. a 1.5 pound, 10 x 5″ pan. My go-to one is a William-Sonoma Goldtouch. I’m a huge fan of the Goldtouch brand – the browning is pretty amazing –  not too much or too little. Thanks, once again, to America’s Test Kitchen.

I always say that this recipe is such a tradition that I don’t change, but that is not quite true. I add more pecans. Local pecans from Renfroe’s. 1 1/2 cups chopped, but everything else remains the same. It is so funny. I remember my mom sifting the dry ingredients together and putting them in bags for her assembly line baking between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had to (and I still have to) have this for Christmas morning. Run it under the broiler until the edges are crunchy and smear with butter. When I was a kid it margarine – better living through weird stuff – ugh. But I have done my food snob thing for years and have never used margarine. It’s salted European butter. Yes, excellent. But any salted butter will do.

One of the best things about this bread is that it keeps really well in the fridge and also in the freezer. So I usually cut the loaf in half and double wrap one half in foil and put in the freezer. It can keep there for several months. Then over a couple of weeks, I eat the half thats’s in the fridge. Works really well.

Now’s here the thing that I thought was so cool. Shelly, for our competition, made banana nut muffins. How have I never thought about it? But in discussing with another friend, she had the best idea I heard this weekend. Make little mini-muffin banana nut muffins. Holy hell! Excellent idea! I will have to work on the temperature / timing to do this, but it sounds, to use an over-used word, awesome. And I just purchased a Goldtouch mini-muffin pan. Do I sound like a commercial for William-Sonoma? I don’t mean to, but I really like this brand. It makes baking so easy.

 

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