Intensely Flavored Banana Loaf

Intensely Flavored Banana Loaf
A Banana Loaf that is moist and tender with an “over the top” Banana flavor.
Source:
Serves: serves 6 to 8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 6 large very ripe bananas (about 2 ¼ lbs), peeled or 5 frozen**
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup (5 ¼ ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins, or dates(chopped )
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (for topping)
Directions
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl.
  2. Place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with a knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. (If using frozen skip, the microwaving and just directly add the 5 bananas to the strainer) Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium bowl and allowed to drain, occasionally stirring, 15 minutes (you should have ½ to ¾ cup liquid).
  3. Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until smooth. Using a hand mixer mix in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts or pecans, Raisins or dates. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Slice remaining banana (cannot use the frozen banana for this step to mushy just use the sugar) diagonally into ¼-inch-thick slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1½-inch-wide space down center to ensure even rise. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of the loaf comes out clean, 55 to 75 minutes. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
Be sure to use very ripe, heavily speckled (or even black) bananas in this recipe. This recipe can be made using 5 thawed frozen bananas; since they release a lot of liquid naturally, they can bypass the microwaving in step 2 and go directly into the fine-mesh strainer. Do not use a thawed frozen banana in step 4; it will be too soft to slice. Instead, simply sprinkle the top of the loaf with sugar. Tastes best when freshly baked having said that; you can freeze this loaf. I have sliced the loaf and frozen it in portions of 2 slices. That way I can just remove what I need. It does freeze well and still tasty.

 

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