Banana bread is oh-so-simple… yet like many simple recipes, requires a few out of the ordinary ingredients to bring it from potentially boring to memorable. A hint of spice, honey for sweetness and moist texture, and one final touch—a few spoonfuls of jam—distinguish this tasty bread from run-of-the-mill versions. Step-by-step photos illustrating how to make this bread are available at Bakers’ Banter, our King Arthur blog.
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
2/3 cup (5 ounces) brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium or 2 large bananas; about 1 pound, unpeeled)
3 tablespoons (2 1/4 ounces) apricot jam or orange marmalade, optional but tasty
1/4 cup (3 ounces) honey
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups (9 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts, optional
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
1) In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, beating till smooth.
2) Add the mashed bananas, jam, honey, and eggs, again beating until smooth.
3) Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring just until smooth.
4) Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
5) Bake the bread for 45 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning.
6) Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean, with at most a few wet crumbs clinging to it. The tester shouldn’t show any sign of uncooked batter. If it does, bake the bread an additional 5 minutes, or until it tests done.
7) Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove it from the pan, and cool it completely on a rack.
Yield: One loaf.
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