Thursday, March 10, 2011

Extreme Banana Bread

This isn't just any banana bread. Its like eating a banana split, with out the ice cream of course. Then again, you could add that on the side! Its the intensity of the banana flavor that sets it apart, and the lack of sugar and cream and butter that make it actually light enough to eat, well, to eat alot!

The way the banana flavor is formed is a tip from my favorite cooking/baking authority- Cook's Illustrated. They test recipes as if they were in a science lab, tell you waht happens at each step so you can USE the knowledge elsewhere, adn then inject thier passion for flavor.

The trick is in the banana prep I will describe. But as I do not have, nor will ever have, a microwave, I freeze bananas in bags of 4-5. Then I defrost them in the bag, so to keep the juice that comes out, in a bowl of hot water. Quick and easy. The microwave version is below.

Extreme Banana Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour (I use spelt)
1 Tabl baking soda
1/2 tsp seasalt
4-5 large very ripe bananas (if possible, frozen then thawed)
1 large ripe banana for topping
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (cooled a bit)
1/2 cup agave syrup or maple syrup or rice syrup
2 eggs
1 Tbl vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips or nuts or both! or none!

Pre-heat oven to 325F/160C.
Prepare pan. Use either loaf pan or a 6 inch round spring form. "Paint" with some of the melted cocnut oil and dust with flour.

In large bowl whisk flour, baking soda and salt.

If you are not using frozen then thawed-in-the-sink bananas as described above.
Place 4-5 large bananas in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and poke in some steam vents. Microwave on high until bananas are soft and havce released liquid, about 5 minutes.

Now you who used frozen-thawed bananas can rejoin us...
Saving the liquid that has come out, place soft bananas in a sieve OVER a bowl and let the liquid drip out of them for 5-10 minutes. Then smash them down & stir around to get anymore liquid out. You should have 1/2 - 3/4 cups) Just use whatever you have.

Place bananas in another mixing bowl. Transfer liquid to a small sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup. About 5 minutes. Now mix that liquid into the smashed bananas, smashing some more until fairly smooth. Whisk in coconut oil, eggs, agave/maple or rice syrup and vanilla.

Pour banana mixture into the flour mixture. Stir just until all flour is wet. You can even still see a few streaks of flour in the batter. Gently fold in chocolate chips and /or walnuts of using. Pour into prepared pan. Shingle banana slices on top as you like. For a treat I sometimes put a bunch of chocolate chips on top too.

Bake 1 hour. until wooden toothpick comes out clean, but rememebr to poke all the way down to the bottonm-center.

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