Saturday, April 14, 2012

Susy's Banana Bread with Walnuts

I know this is my first posting after several months of silence . . . well, I don't want to bore you with lots of details, so let me just tell you the short version:  I got engaged in September (on Labor Day) and moved to Michigan by mid November.  I have been working from home since December and will be taking an early retirement by the end of July.  Period.  End of story.

I promise I will tell you more about my life later on. 

Bobby and I woke up early this morning and, like almost every morning, I made coffee.  It was raining lightly, but the squirrels were already out there and a couple of them came all the way to the glass door (in the kitchen) to ask for saltines.  They just love them! :)  Then I turned around to go check if the coffee was ready and, all of a sudden, I saw the lonely overripe bananas, sitting in the basket over the counter, staring at me! :(

All right—I said to myself—I better do something about this before they go to waste . . . so I turned on my computer and checked three recipes for banana bread.  Didn't really like the ingredients in one and the proportions seemed a little bit off in the other ones.  So I did the next best thing . . . just took what I liked from each one of them (also read the reviews and suggestions for one of the recipes) and added a couple of extra ingredients.  This is what I came up with . . .


·         4 overripe bananas
·         1/2 cup granulated sugar
·         1/2 cup light brown sugar
·         1 stick unsalted butter, softened
·         1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·         2 large eggs
·         1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
·         1/4 cup honey vanilla Greek yogurt
·         2 cups self-rising flour (if you have all-purpose flour add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda)
·         1 cup walnuts, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and then line the bottom with parchment paper (look at the photo) . . . that way, removing the bread from the pan is a breeze and the whole process is mess free!
Mash the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer, mix together in a big bowl the two kinds of sugar, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg until they are well combined. Then add the two eggs and beat well until the mixture turns into a lighter color (about 5 minutes). Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Add bananas, vanilla extract and Greek yogurt and incorporate them into the batter with a rubber spatula. Add the flour in three or four parts, folding it each time into the batter with the spatula (don’t use the mixer) and just until incorporated, no need to overly blend but don’t leave either noticeable streaks of flour. You want sort of a light and fluffy banana cream. Finally, fold in the walnuts and incorporate them into the batter with the help of the spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out. Bake for about 1 hour, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. 
Don't get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that's no mistake, it's typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning.  If the toothpick doesn’t come out clean after one hour, keep baking your bread in increments of 10-15 minutes until it’s done. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then lift it out of the pan by holding both ends of the parchment paper. Carefully peel the parchment paper and let the bread cool completely (preferably onto a wire rack) before slicing.