October 21, 2010

Cloudy, with a chance of rain

Today seemed like a good day for banana bread. A simple one, without adornment, a companion to a fall afternoon of reading and gazing at leaf strewn streets. Since October finally feels like fall, with the requisite chilly air, falling leaves, and cloudy skies, the urge for comfort food crops up much more often, now that the ninety degree days have relinquished their lasting hold. To relish every last moment of this wonderful crisp air, I'm aiming for walks in the early evenings, fortified by mugs of steamy tea and very banana-y banana bread.

With only seven ingredients, this recipe was almost too easy. Half tempted to add something extra, like walnuts or cinnamon, I restrained myself at the promise of hearty banana flavor. Every recipe for banana bread I've ever encountered has always held some sort of appeal for me. Each one offers something a little different, some with chocolate, some with spice, some healthier, some more decadent, and typically a varying formula of ingredients for a moist and fluffy loaf. Not wanting to repeat the walnut version already posted, and initially intrigued by this one's simplicity any way, I adhered to the instructions and waited impatiently while it baked. This bread is all about banana. That's why it doesn't need anything else.

Pockets of warm, oozy banana are in every bite, if you can't wait long enough for a slice, like me. The bread sliced evenly and didn't fall apart, though, so I can hardly tell you to wait until it's completely cool, although the flavor may be more pronounced by the next day. Just make sure it's no longer hot and has cooled to warm, or you'll risk burning your tongue and then miss out on the goodness that comes from using six bananas in a loaf of bread. If you can, save some for breakfast. Plain and simple is pure comfort on a rainy morning.

Banana Banana Bread
Adapted from allrecipes.com

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 ⅓ cups mashed overripe bananas (about 5-6)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs until fully incorporated, then stir in mashed bananas until well blended. Fold banana mixture into flour mixture, stirring just to moisten. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 60 - 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely, or at least until warm.

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