There are few foods that make you feel like you can melt into them, so comfortable and perfect that they just seem to wrap you up in their goodness. I’ve always loved banana bread for this quality; it doesn’t really seem to matter who makes it or what recipe is used, there is just something about warm bread rich with banana flavor and hints of warm spices. I get cozy just thinking about it! I love the banana cake from The Silver Palate Cookbook. I always feel guilty going back for seconds, or thirds, but something about it is totally addicting! (especially with cream cheese frosting!)
Just before Christmas I was in a bookshop in La Conner, WA and came across Warm Bread and Honey cake: Home baking from around the world by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. Every recipe in this books looks like something you would melt into. Of course there was a banana bread and banana cake recipe. The very first thing I did was make banana bread. This banana bread is just that, the largest quantity ingredient, besides flour, are bananas! No chocolate chips, no cranberries, no nuts, just banana! It’s light and soft and when its warm there is nothing better than just a little bit of rich local butter on top. humm… I think I need to make some more!
Banana Loaf (Bread)
Slightly adapted from Warm Cake and Honey Bread
7 oz. Very ripe banana (about 2 medium) 2 tsp. Lemon juice 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp. Baking powder ¼ tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1 stick (4 ½ oz) butter ½ cup generously packed dark brown sugar 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla Optional: ¼ cup walnuts, chopped 2 oz. Dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Peel and slice bananas and mash them with lemon juice on a plate. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease l-lb. loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar until lightened in color and smooth. Add the egg and vanilla to mixture and beat well. Mix in the bananas. Add the flour mixture in three batches, using a whisk to blend it gently. (Optional: Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips with last batch of flour.)
Transfer batter to pan and bake for about an hour, or until a knife comes out clean. Leave in pan to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (if you can wait that long!)