Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Best Banana Bread Ever

When I shop Brookshire Brothers' produce, one of the things I always pick up is bananas - the ultimate healthy on-the-go snack with just enough carbohydrate to give you a boost. But I always seem to end up with an extra overripe banana here and there. Am I the only one who has a ridiculous number of overripe bananas squirreled away in my freezer? Other than using those bananas in smoothies, a fantastic way to use an abundance of overripe bananas is in banana bread. And lucky for you, I have the one and only banana bread recipe you'll ever need. It is oh-so-delicious because it ups the banana count, which helps increase the natural sugars and decrease any added sugar needed in the recipe. The extra bananas are a fantastic source of potassium and B vitamins, and I love to add nuts to make the bread even more nutritious and satisfying. Half of the all-purpose flour can be substituted with whole wheat flour for added fiber, minerals and B vitamins. Best of all it's easy to convert the recipe into muffins by reducing the baking time. Use very ripe and heavily speckled bananas for this recipe or it won't be sweet enough. Pick up all the Real Fresh, Real Delicious ingredients for this awesome banana bread recipe at your local Brookshire Brothers store today, and never throw away an overripe banana again! 

Best Banana Bread-Ever

 

Ingredients 
- 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (half of the flour may be substituted with whole wheat flour) 
- 1 teaspoon baking soda 
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt 
- 5 large very ripe bananas (about 2 pounds), fresh or frozen, peeled
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 
- 2 large eggs 
- 2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and
coarsely chopped (optional)
- 1 additional large banana for topping (fresh, not frozen)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar or coconut sugar                                                                                        Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen                                                                                                                          "Ultimate Banana Bread."

 

Directions
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or prepare muffin tins with 18 muffin liners. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. 
2a. IF USING FROZEN BANANAS: Place frozen bananas in a fine-mesh strainer over the top of a medium saucepan and allow bananas to thaw, stirring occasionally to release liquid. You should have 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid.  
2b. IF USING FRESH BANANAS: Place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium saucepan and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. You should have 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid.  
3. Cook drained banana liquid over medium-high heat until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5-10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar/coconut sugar, and vanilla. 
4. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts or pecans, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan or muffin tins with liners. Slice remaining fresh banana diagonally into ¼-inch-thick slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1½-inch-wide space down center to ensure even rise. Alternately, if making muffins, place one banana slice in the center of each muffin. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar or coconut sugar evenly over the top of the entire loaf or over muffins.  
5. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of loaf or muffins comes out clean and free of doughy flour (banana pieces may cling to toothpick), 55 to 75 minutes for a loaf and 35 to 50 minutes for muffins. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf or muffins from pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

 

Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious healthy foods and providing nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does community education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. Look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas.