Thursday, February 7, 2013

Black and White Banana Loaf

You'd think with a family of four, we would be able to eat a bunch of bananas before they start to turn brown.....  Our problem is, that we all like them at varying ripeness. My husband likes them a little green, the girls like them perfect and yellow and I like them when they are just starting to get a few brown spots.  So inevitably, I buy bunch after bunch of bananas, hoping to maximize the optimal ripeness for every single one of us, and it doesn't work.  I always have left-over brown bananas, which I guess I shouldn't complain about since there is an aftermarket for the mushy, squishy, brown fruit.  Dorie Greenspan's recipe below yields a dense and very delicious loaf.  It is cake-like in texture and taste and you would be wise to serve it with ice cream or a tall glass of chocolate milk.

Recipe Source: Dorie Greenspan Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours 

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1½ ripe bananas
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of ½ a lemon

1 tablespoon dark rum
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice and zest, then stir in the rum.
4. Melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in a microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water.
5. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining stick (8 tablespoons) of butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk, and when it is blended, add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. 
6. Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan, then, using a table knife, swirl the batters together, taking care not to overdo it.
7. Bake for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Cut and serve with your favorite treat - ice cream or chocolate milk :)

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