Sunday, December 13, 2009

banana bread - redemption?

cook's illustrated banana bread - 12My last Banana Bread incident was horrible and was purely due to my inexperience. I did not know the importance of following directions thoroughly, and did not include baking soda and/or baking powder (I didn't know, didn't care lol). This time around was different- it was redemption (or so I hoped). Cook's Illustrated never lets me down, which is why I turned to them for this recipe. (speaking of which- I really need to get a subscription because Googling illegal recipes just ain't cutting it for me anymore).

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The best part is that I prepared both the wet and dry ingredients the night before (while slightly intoxicated- okay maybe more than slightly). I got back from the bar and saw a few old bananas staring me right in the eye and it was a situation I needed to deal with pronto. I am 99.9% sure I followed the recipe to a T (hey, I even toasted walnuts while inebriated).

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So the following morning (same day I first baked the Apple Pie Cookies) I took my much-needed break from studying for my Women's Study final and put together my pre-mixed ingredients. Clumpy and lumpy- the true signs of banana bread.

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The downfall to my recipe (isn't there always something I have to put the blame on other than myself?) – the glass pan. Yes, I know I can't use glass to bake (but if I do, I must decrease temperature by 25 degrees), but it is all I have. I'm a broke college student for goodness sake!

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So the decreasing of the temperature had to do, and I filled the pan.

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Oh, what is really interesting/cool about the Cook's Illustrated recipe is that they state to only butter/grease the bottom of the pan, so the dough can rise without sliding on the greasiness. Cool right?

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Voila, final product! Okay, yes there is an explanation following...

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Recipe said 55 minutes-ish. Alright, so I toothpicked it at 50, and following in 5 minute intervals. The inside was completely raw while the outside by the glass pan appeared fully done. NOT GOOD! That stupid gash in the center continuously spurted out raw dough while the top and sides looked rock hard.

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Taste time! Okay, it was pretty good (well I'm just a huge banana bread fan in the first place). The center parts were nice and moist, with the outsides and the crust part slightly tough.

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Yes, I'll take partial credit for this semi-failure (but I put the rest of the blame on my stupid bakeware).

Taken from Cook's Illustrated

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted, chopped coarse (about 1 cup)
3 bananas, very ripe, soft, darkly speckled, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of regular loaf pan, or grease and flour bottom and sides of nonstick 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. Combine first five ingredients together in large bowl; set aside.
2. Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with wooden spoon in medium bowl. Lightly fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan; bake until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

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