To get heav­enly ba­nana bread, make it with veg­etable oil

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - EL­IZ­A­BETH KARMEL

Ev­ery­one makes ba­nana bread. And most peo­ple love it.

A good friend of mine al­ways makes it with cho­co­late chips be­cause her fam­ily will eat any­thing with cho­co­late in it. I grew up with my mother mak­ing ba­nana bread with but­ter and pecans, and I thought it was very good un­til I ac­ci­den­tally cre­ated the world’s best ba­nana bread a few years ago.

Here is a lit­tle back­ground: any­one who bakes knows that there are but­ter cakes and oil cakes. I make most of my cakes with but­ter, but my Grand­mother’s Ap­ple Cake is made with veg­etable oil and it is al­ways the crowd favourite. So, when I was work­ing on the recipes for my up­com­ing “Steak and Cake” cook­book, I de­cided to see how ba­nana bread made with veg­etable oil would taste ver­sus my mother’s but­ter recipe.

I was vis­it­ing my sis­ter in Hous­ton, and her twin daugh­ters wanted to bake with me. To make sure that ev­ery­one had a part in mak­ing the recipe, I passed out three bowls: one for each of my nieces and one for me. I then di­vided the recipe into three parts. Natalie mashed the bananas with most of the sugar and the vanilla, Olivia mea­sured and whisked the flour and re­main­ing sugar with the other dry in­gre­di­ents, and I blended the eggs and the veg­etable oil.

We mixed the eggs and the flour to­gether, added the com­pletely liq­ue­fied ba­nana-sugar mix­ture and added toasted wal­nuts for taste and tex­ture. I dec­o­rated the tops of the loaves with wal­nuts and ush­ered the loaves into the oven.

Of course, they smelled heav­enly as they baked — all ba­nana bread smells heav­enly. But once the loaves were out and cooled enough to taste, it was a whole new world.

There was even carameliza­tion all the way through the loaf, which is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause many loaves of ba­nana bread are darker on the bot­tom than the top. And, the crumb of the cake was soft and silky but very light and moist.

Dry ba­nana bread is also a com­mon com­plaint and this was the op­po­site of dry. Best yet, the loaf stays moist and flavour­ful for days af­ter you bake it.

The wal­nut top is dec­o­ra­tive and adds a wel­come crunch.

Start to fin­ish: 1 hour, 15 min­utes; ac­tive time: 15 min­utes. Use 8 x 4 x 2.5 -inch loaf pans (dis­pos­able alu­minum pans work very well).

Toast wal­nuts in the oven at 250 F for about 15 to 20 min­utes. Re­move and let cool. Set oven to 325 F.

Mean­while, mash bananas with a fork and add all but ½ cup of the sugar. Mix and add vanilla. Con­tinue mix­ing un­til the mix­ture is com­pletely smooth.

In a sep­a­rate large bowl, mea­sure flour and stir with a whisk or fork to aer­ate. Place ½ cup of sugar in the bowl. Add bak­ing soda, salt, cin­na­mon and whisk well.

In a third bowl, mix eggs and oil with a blend­ing fork un­til emul­si­fied.

Us­ing a fork, mix eggs well with the flour mix­ture. Add ba­nana mix­ture to the egg-flour mix­ture and stir with a fork un­til com­pletely com­bined. Add chopped wal­nuts and pour bat­ter into pre­pared loaf pans, us­ing a bak­ing spray so that the bread doesn’t stick to the pan. Dec­o­rate the top with wal­nut halves.

Bake for about 60 min­utes or un­til the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tooth­pick in­serted in the cen­tre comes out clean.

Re­move from oven and let sit in the pan for five min­utes. Trans­fer to a cool­ing rack. Can be served warm or cooled. Per serv­ing: 513 calo­ries (267 from fat); 30 grams fat (4 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 65 mil­ligrams choles­terol; 326 mg sodium; 55 g car­bo­hy­drate; 3 g fi­bre; 34 g sugar; 7 g pro­tein.

RICHARD DREW, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

I grew up with my mother mak­ing ba­nana bread with but­ter and pecans, and I thought it was very good un­til I ac­ci­den­tally cre­ated the world’s best ba­nana bread a few years ago.

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