I had several of them on my counter, saved, not cut up on cereal or mashed with peanutbutter in a sandwich, for the sole purpose of making some banana bread. It's one of those easily baked items that everyone in the house likes. And besides, it's got bananas in it, so it's good for you! Well, better for you than some things, not as good for you as others. It's a pleasant middle road to travel.
Anyway, I often add chocolate chips to my banana bread, and last time around, I also included about 3/4 cup of shredded coconut. I was in a cleaning-out mood that day.
This time around, however, I just wanted plain and simple banana bread. Or so I thought.
I got out my copy of The Best Recipe, which is put out by the people from Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen, and turned to their banana bread recipe, which I've been using lately as my launching pad.
One of the ingredients called for is a quarter cup of plain yogurt. This time around, I thought I'd use some of the Stoneyfield Farm Banilla yogurt I have in the fridge, just to up the banana flavor a tad. And the recipe also calls for 6 tablespoons of melted and cooled butter. I changed that to 4, and used 2 tablespoons of peanutbutter to make up the difference. We're big on the peanutbutter and banana flavor around here. I didn't want to use too much, because I wasn't trying to make a loaf of peanutbutter bread. I just wanted a hint of it. And, finally, I was originally going to leave out the nuts and just have a sort of smooth loaf, but I changed my mind (predictably) and used some of the mixed raw nuts I happened to have on hand.
Alex sampled the bread when he got home from school. He and I are probably tied in the banana bread loving department around here, so I valued his opinion. I gave him a slice and waited for the feedback.
"Mom…if I was a judge…I'd give you an A+. Or maybe an A++." To spare you the long monologue that followed, I'll just say that he kept adding pluses until I asked him (politely and with modest pride) to stop. I asked him if he liked this one best of all the banana breads I've made, and he thought about this for a bit. "A lot of times you put in chocolate chips…so maybe they're tied…but maybe I like this one a little more."
And there you have it. High, carefully considered, praise from my junior gourmand.
The loaf is almost gone, too. Sometimes a few crumbs are worth a thousand words.
Here's what you need -
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup banana flavored yogurt
2 T peanutbutter
4 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped mixed raw nuts
Grease and flour the bottom of a loaf pan (per the book, the bread can climb up the sides of the pan better if the sides aren't greased. However, if you're using a nonstick loaf pan, then you DO want to grease and flour the sides of the pan, because the nonstick surface is too slippery and the flour will be what the rising batter grabs as it climbs) and preheat the oven to 350F. Place a rack in the lower middle portion of your oven.
Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt).
In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients – bananas, yogurt, peanutbutter, butter, eggs, and vanilla – and combine well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and add the nuts as well, and mix it all together until just combined.
or until a thin knife blade inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Let the bread cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let the bread finish cooling on a wire rack.