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Banana Bread Boy

August 31, 2010

Alicia and I love our breads, especially when they are as flavorful and moist as our most recent foray into the realm of banana breads. The trick with banana breads is to use plenty of bananas. This, while it should be self-evident, cannot be repeated enough. Many banana bread recipes call for two to three bananas, which is pretty paltry. We made one like that a few months ago, and it left a lot (of bananas) to be desired. We wanted our bread to burst with banana, and the high proportion of fruit kept the bread moist for over a week. In fact, the banana bread gained flavor as it sat and the bananas became more assertive. And, as it is of course a banana bread, why not go bananas! We put in five, for delectable results.

Look at that crumb!

As I’m sure you’ve all learned from your parents, the best bananas for a bread are very much on the ripe side. We let ours sit a few days past prime ripeness, when the peel became predominantly brown, which signifies a soft and sweet piece of fruit. After mashing them and adding some other ingredients, including some shredded coconut and dark chocolate, the flavors really developed. The coconut added a great textural contrast to the soft bread, and of course the dark chocolate was delicious. We chopped up about twenty Dove squares, and, as an added delight, were fortunate enough to read some fine advice written on the packaging, donated by their (apparently predominantly female) fan-base.  For instance, Lisa, from Morristown, New Jersey, wants me to “wear that perfect dress tonight!” Her advice, sadly, went unheeded.

But the banana bread was one of the best I’ve ever had, and it offered me great comfort when Alicia went home for a few days and I was stuck without access to a kitchen. The banana bread was always moist and tasted like fresh bananas, and that extra chocolate certainly helped too. I’ve become a real banana bread boy!

Look at that plum!

We found the recipe on David Lebovitz’s site.

Banana Loaf Cake
One 9-inch cake

Adapted from Perfect Light Desserts by Nick Malgieri and David Joachim

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 or 5 large very ripe banana-mash, then measure)
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped bittersweet dark chocolate (20 Dove squares)
  • One 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan, sprayed with vegetable cooking spray coated with fine, dry breadcrumbs or a dusting of

1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs to break them up, then whisk in the sugar and the brown sugar. Whisk in the butter and vanilla, followed by the mashed bananas. Add the coconut and chocolate.

4. Sift the flour mixture over the banana mixture and thoroughly fold it in. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

5. Bake the cake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.

6. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then unmold it and cool completely on a rack.

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