Ultimate Banana Bread

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 Definitely a recipe to try if you like banana bread. At my house we like anything to do with bananas, so this recipe was a winner. Unlike most recipes which call for 2, 3 or 4 bananas, this recipe calls for 6!

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I substituted canola oil for the butter it called for so that my husband could enjoy it too.

Ultimate Banana Bread

Adapted from: Cooks Illustrated Magazine, August 2010 issue

Yields one loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 large (about 2 1/4 pounds) very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Spray one 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.

Place five (5) bananas in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in the plastic wrap with a paring knife. Microwave on high until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, approximately 5 minutes. Transfer the bananas to a fine-mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. You should have 1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid after straining. 

Transfer liquid to medium saucepan over medium heat until it’s reduced to approximately 1/4 cup. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the drained bananas; mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in the melted shortening, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.

Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in the walnuts or pecans, if using. Pour the batter into the prepared bread pan.

Slice the remaining banana diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Shingle the banana sliced on top of both sides of the loaf, leaving 1 1/2-inch-wide space down the center to ensure even rising. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the top of the loaf.

Bake 55 to 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool bread in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and continue to cool on the wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.