I Am Thankful For... Pillowy Banana Walnut Bread




Hi there! Some things happened while I've been gone: I've stopped riding my bike to work on account of it being pitch black at 5, met some neat people volunteering at the Culver City farm mar, tasted my first Urth Caffe green tea boba (um, yum!), and hosted a little Mocksgiving feast (a pre-Thanksgiving-let's-serve-mock-duck-instead-of-turkey Thanksgiving meal with friends). So fun!

 

We went home to San Jose to celebrate Thanksgiving - a day filled with nommy mashed potatoes, crunchy green beans, savory gravy, and sticky white rice (the last dish is just a tradition in my household - can't have a holiday meal without rice.) Before driving up, I wanted to bring a little pre-Thanksgiving treat. So I made banana bread!

But why banana bread for Thanksgiving? When I was little, pumpkin pie always reminded me of mushy old people food. It just had too much nutmeg and I didn't understand if it was supposed to be a custard or a pie. And is it supposed to be hot or cold? Hence: Pillowy Banana Walnut Bread.

I've made banana bread dozens of times, always following a recipe in some cook book. But this time, I decided to wing it. I know this isn't the sagest advice, particularly if you're baking, and from someone who's no expert baker. But I looked at a few other recipes, took some bits here, others there, and told myself: Worst case? I'll eat the batter. :)

I had a huge bag of walnuts and a whole container full of leftover bananas from work (yeah, that's right. I'm that girl who steals the icky brown bananas from the fruit bowl. You should be that person too. Brown bananas are the sweetest and best bananas for flavorful and moist bread)! With my strategies of knocking on wood, kind-of measuring, and repeatedly tasting the batter, I'd say this is a pretty trusty new recipe for your next loaf of banana walnut bread!

Banana Walnut Bread

Makes 1 loaf
60 min baking time
What you need:

Special kitchen tools

   2 quart pan
   mixer
   food processor

For the bread
   2 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
   1 tsp vanilla
   1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
   1/2 cup brown sugar
   1/2 cup sugar
   2 eggs
   2 cups flour
   1 1/2 tsp baking powder
   1/4 tsp baking soda
   1/2 tsp salt
   1 tsp cinnamon
   1 cup chopped walnuts

  • Steps:
  • Heat oven to 350'. If frozen, like mine, nuke bananas for a few minutes on defrost to get them nice and mashed. I had to drain a little bit of the sugary liquid from them too. If using fresh bananas, be sure to mash them good to break down the sugars. Add your vanilla to this mixture and set aside. 
  • In your mixer, break down butter till its nice and creamy. Add brown sugar and white sugar on higher speed till it's nice and incorporated. 




Next, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Crush your walnuts by hand or in a food processor. Then slowly alternate between adding flour mixture and banana mash to the mixer with the butter-sugar mixture until you get a thick batter. Fold in your walnuts with a spatula.



Pour batter into pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven for 60 minutes. Be sure to lick the bowl, the spatula, oh, and the whisk while you wait. (I swear, licking the batter is the most important step)



Remove when the top is nice and brown and a toothpick is clean when you pull it out from poking the center. Let cool for 10 minutes or so and remove from pan to let cool some more before digging in! 



When we arrived with foil-wrapped bread in hand, my dad was pretty gosh darn excited. We may or may not have eaten half of it that night...

Make this tasty pillowy bread for Thanksgiving or throughout the year! Nom nom nana bread.

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