Monday, July 18, 2011

World’s Best Banana Bread

I haven’t seen it lately, Dollinks, but there was a time when cafés everywhere claimed to have the “World’s Best Coffee” or “World’s Best Burger,” and so forth. Those signs always gave me a giggle. Whod voted it best? Had the proprietor of the place drunk coffee in every place in the world? Did he have a special secret? Special beans? A special machine? Did he hold his head at exactly the right angle as he measured out each scoop? And so I present - without the least bit of embarrassment in acknowledging that its title is silly - the Worlds Best Banana Bread
And hey! While Im asking rhetorical questions, why do the instructions of so many recipes say “Add eggs one at a time, beating well”? Be a rebel! Go ahead and dump in those eggs - NOT! 

Cooking is part method and part madness. The add liquids slowly method - eggs included, Dollinks - allows such liquids to emulsify (or suspend themselves as fine droplets) with the creamed fat in the mixture. When you add eggs (or any other liquid) gradually, and you beat them in after each addition, they mix in well. When you dump them in, they settle to the bottom of your cake or loaf as a gummy, chewy mess.

Although my creative instincts say those add one at a time or add gradually instructions date to the days when cooks beat ingredients into batters with a wooden spoon, the add gradually, beating after each addition method remains the best one to use. With no fancy appliances in her küche, my Austrian “Mutti,” or grandmother, always mixed her cakes and loaves one item at a time. It was madness that she worked so hard, but the result was worth the effort. Doing so made her arms extra strong, so she could give us massive hugs!
World’s Best Banana Bread:
½ c. butter or margarine
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-⅔ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 c. mashed, over-ripe bananas (approximately 2 medium bananas)
½ c. sour cream
½ c. chopped walnuts, toasted or ½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla, creaming well. Add eggs one at a time, continuing to beat after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, adding to butter-egg mixture in alternate thirds with the bananas and sour cream, beating well after each addition and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in ½ c. chopped walnuts. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5-in. loaf pan, knocking out any excess flour. Pour batter into pan, baking 60-to-70 min., or until skewer poked in center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 min. before turning loaf onto wire rack. Thats all there is to it! 

Best Tip Ever: See

Note: For banana muffins instead of loaf, line muffin pan with ungreased paper liners, filling 2/3 full. Bake 25 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Yields 14 or 15 standard-sized muffins. 

Assemble ingredients
Sprinkle in walnuts
Test loaf with toothpick or wooden skewer

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