We’ve all had banana bread before. But, you’ve never had my banana bread before. Maybe you have, though, and that’s why you’re reading this blog to begin with. Did you meet me at Show Me Your Books KC and try my yummy baked stuff? If so, hello! Get ready for some weirdness.
Your grandma’s banana bread was probably really simple. Mashed bananas, butter, sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder, right? Maybe some nuts? Mine starts with that premise, but I’ve made it a bit more wholesome. I replaced some of the flour with whole wheat flour, and you can’t even tell! It is just as smooth and delicious as a loaf made with plain-old, all-purpose flour. I also replaced the traditional walnuts with chopped macadamia nuts. Oh, and I added a dash of flavor with some cinnamon.
Before you go crazy adding spices to your breads to jazz them up, be cautious. You still want the main flavor to be the bread’s namesake—banana, zucchini, strawberries, etc. I’ve made banana bread with all sorts of spices and I’ve found that, for my own tastes, I prefer it with just cinnamon. It complements the banana flavor well. Ok…let’s get to it.
Mise en place
That’s what they would say to us in culinary school when it was time to start. It literally means “Put in place” or “Be in place” and is pronounced “Meez ehn plahss” with a snooty French accent. I…I can’t really do a French accent, though. I’m better with the more guttural languages that I’ve actually studied. Romance languages? Not so much. I can read them and get the gist of it, but I can’t pronounce them worth a damn.
Anyway…always get your shit together before you start cooking. Pull out all of the equipment you’ll need. Get your ingredients together. Chop your nuts. It can even be helpful to measure it all out before you start mixing, just in case you’re a tad short on something. You don’t want to have to make a quick run to the store for more cooking spray because you didn’t prep the pans before mixing. Or for more flour because you realize you’re half a cup short once you’ve already mixed the eggs into the sugar.
You see, the sugar actually starts to cook the eggs before heat is applied so it’s not something you want to leave sitting around while you do other things. Baking is chemistry and like all chemistry, timing is everything. Ingredients mix and chemical reactions start to take place. Don’t fuck up the beautiful science that is baking by not having your shit together or by not mixing your ingredients in a timely fashion. So, chop your nuts. Measure everything. Dig out the paddle attachment for your mixer. Be en pointe and mise en place.
Banana Macadamia Nut Bread
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp non-iodized salt (I use Falk Salt or ground pink Himalayan)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups mashed ripe bananas, about 6 or 7
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 TBSP ground flax seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1 TBSP cinnamon
¾ cup chopped Macadamia nuts
1. Preheat your oven to 325 for loaves or 350 for muffins. Spray the pans with cooking spray or line the muffin cups with paper and squirt a bit of cooking spray in the bottom of them.
2. Cream together the butter, salt, and sugar until it is smooth. Scrape down the sides. Do NOT beat it until it is fluffy, as this will put too much air into the batter.
3. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Scrape down the sides.
4. Stir in the bananas, but do not beat. You don’t want to get a bunch of air into it.
5. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Fold them into the wet stuff until it is just mixed. Don’t overmix it or it will make the bread less tender. Pour into prepared pans.
6. Bake loaves for 50-60 minutes, cupcakes for 15-20, or mini cupcakes for 12-15 minutes. If your oven sucks and doesn’t heat evenly, turn them around halfway through. It’s done when you insert a toothpick in the center of the loaf and it comes out with just wet crumbs, not batter. For muffins, you can just tap the top. If it stays indented, it’s not done. If it pops back up, it’s done.
What did I miss? Questions? Comments? Drop me a note down below.