If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m slightly obsessed with America’s Test Kitchen recipes. Literally every recipe I try from them turns out well – they take all the guess work out of cooking and baking because they try every combo for you and then tell you what works best! I would love to develop recipes someday, but I don’t have enough time to do that right now, so I’ll stick with tried and true recipes.
I saw this gorgeous banana bread in an America’s Test Kitchen newsletter and I really wanted to try it out. Those little rows of banana on either side of the loaf are so cute!! But I have to tell you – I don’t really like bananas! TheBetterHalf actually hates them!! But I know that most other people LOVE bananas, so it wouldn’t be hard to get rid of this bread. I must say, I wish that I had put chocolate chips in the batter – I can get on board with banana bread if it is loaded with chocolate!! But I followed the recipe exactly, and I think (or at least my tasters told me!) that it turned out great! Very moist and full of intense banana flavor – what more could you want from Banana Bread?
Ultimate Banana Bread
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen
Makes one 9-inch loaf
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
6 large very ripe bananas (about 2¼ pounds), peeled
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl.
2. Place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes (you should have ½ to ¾ cup liquid).
3. Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
4. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Slice remaining banana diagonally into ¼-inch-thick slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1½-inch-wide space down center to ensure even rise. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.
5. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 55 to 75 minutes. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.