Thursday, July 12, 2007

Banana Bread

I absolutely love banana bread, so when I spied a few soft bananas in our kitchen, I decided to take full advantage. I've been using a modified version of a Better Homes and Gardens recipe for ages, but I recently found a recipe from Baking Illustrated that intrigued me. It called for a generous 1.5 cups of bananas, like my modified BH&G recipe. But Baking Illustrated also wanted me to use a combination of melted butter and plain yogurt in my wet ingredients. There were other small but significant differences as well. The result was a more bread-like bread (vs. the cake-like bread I usually make), slightly less sweet but still tender and moist. I'm converted.

Now, the Baking Illustrated recipe did suggest adding toasted walnuts to the bread. I will confess here that I am not a fan of nuts in banana bread at all. I'm especially put off by the texture of the nuts after they have been steaming inside the bread for an hour. However, I did have a few leftover chopped pecans in the pantry and, in an effort to use everything in the house before our move, sprinkled them atop the bread.

The pecans remained crunchy and nutty, and the baking brought out their natural sweetness very nicely. I also appreciated the contrast between the crunchy texture of the crust and bread's chewy, soft insides. In short, I may never make banana bread without pecans again.

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