sometimes i grab things at the grocery store and just don’t have the time or desire to eat them during the week. i hate throwing away food because a) it’s wasteful and b) it’s money in the garbage. well, when i hate browning bananas sitting on my counter for three consecutive weeks, i realized i had two options: stop buying bananas or make banana bread.
i chose the latter.
i stuck them in the freezer to buy myself some time. i didn’t know if this was a thing - sticking over-ripened bananas in the freezer. but i had seen people do it, so who was i to judge?
i had two fears in creating my own banana bread: firstly, that it would be too dense — nobody wants a banana brick. and secondly, i wanted to lighten it up with less butter, eggs and the like - and as i’ve said before, baking is sometimes more of an exact science. i didn’t want to screw anything up!
much to my surprise, it all worked out splendidly. not to toot my own horn, but this is arguably the best banana bread i’ve ever had. make it and see if you agree!
(please note… missing from this photo: egg beaters egg whites & orange juice [more specifically trop50]. also, sorry the bananas are so unbelievably ugly. they were overly ripe and then i froze them and they’re in the midst of defrosting in the photo. don’t judge, they did their job, though)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons packed, light brown sugar (keep the 2T to the side)
1/4 cup egg beaters egg whites
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
splash of orange juice (a little less than 1/4 cup) (confession: i was craving OJ this week, so i bought some trop50. about 3/4 of the way through this recipe, i felt like it might be a little dry. i splashed in some OJ and it didn’t hurt anything, so i’m sticking with it.)
2 cups of mashed, over-ripe bananas (i’d say four decent-sized bananas worth)
1 cup chopped walnuts (keep a little to the side to sprinkle on top)
good. now you’re done COLLECTING, onto the DOING.
in a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. set that aside.
in a medium bowl, take a mixer to a combination of the butter, egg beaters, vanilla, brown sugar and orange juice.
see, originally i skipped over the instructions that said you were supposed to cream together just the butter and the sugar first. i didn’t take pictures of my mess because i thought it was going to make my bread suck and i was too embarrassed to show you. buuuut, hindsight is 20/20 and since my bread came out SUPER, you all should make this “mistake” in your recipe, too.
slowly pour the blended medium-bowl-mixture into the mixed flour mixture. here’s a tip i learned (but not the hard way. i learned it by reading BEFORE i started experimenting. makes a world of difference.) you don’t want to stir too much because quick breads that are overstirred become dryer and denser. again… no one wants a bulky banana brick! trust me, i know that’s some fun “B” alliteration, but it’s not going to be tasty.
once that’s mixed just enough to make sure there’s no dry flour (do you like how i avoided using the word
moist there?), add in the mushy bananas and then sprinkle in the majority of the chopped walnuts (remember to leave a little to the side for the topping, though).
pour the batter into a greased 9x5 loaf pan and then make the topping. in a small dish, combine 1 Tablespoon of water and 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar. whisk them together with a fork. drizzle/dump this over the top of the bread. i didn’t think it’d make much of a difference but WOW! it gives it a great, light, sweet crunch and finishes it great. (before it bakes, though, it might look like maple cinnamon oatmeal. not that that’s a bad thing, though!)
also for garnish and texture, sprinkle the rest of those chopped walnuts on top.
now it’s ready to bake at 350 for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.
click here for a printable version of the recipe!