Baking

Really Better Banana Bread... No, Really
November 16, 2009 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

Bourbon and brown butter. Just uttering the words puts me in a good mood. Throw in a few really ripe bananas, and you’ll find me in the kitchen making banana bread. Earlier this year I posted a recipe for Better Banana Bread, and it really is better than any I’ve ever tasted or made. I know, you’re wondering why try to improve on something I already like? See, the problem is I fell madly in love with caramelized bananas while creating a Burnt Caramel & Banana Gelato this summer. Then Olga over at Sassy Radish posted a brown butter pound cake recipe. All of her waxing poetic about the taste of browned butter, well, it pushed me over the edge. It was time to take matters into my own hands (and kitchen). The bourbon just happened to be sitting on the counter and it seemed such a happy pairing, so who was I to get in the way?

Brown Butter Bourbon Pecan Banana Bread
serves 8 to 10

Many quick breads are one bowl and don’t require a mixer. That’s probably why they tend to be a bit heavy and dense. This one takes a few extra minutes, but the payoff is a lighter cake flecked with caramelized morsels of banana. And if you prefer an alcohol-free bread, just omit the bourbon.

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
3 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/2 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease the bottom only of a 9-inch by 3-inch loaf pan with butter.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat in a small heavy bottomed pot. Cook until it begins to brown, but not burn; it will smell nutty and fragrant. Remove from heat, and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Peel and dice one banana. Mash the remaining bananas in a small bowl; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of brown sugar in a small skillet over medium heat until it begins to melt and turn golden. Add diced banana pieces and saute until well coated and caramelized. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Beat eggs on medium speed in your Cuisinart Stand Mixer.  Add remaining brown sugar and beat until foamy and combined. Add mashed banana, bourbon, and vanilla; beat until mixed welll. Scrape down sides of bowl again with rubber spatula.
  5. On low speed, pour in 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Increase mixer speed to medium and mix until just blended.  Pour in 1/3 of buttermilk and beat until just blended.  Repeat this process with remaining flour and buttermilk. Fold in pecans and caramelized banana pieces. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 

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