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Banana-Nut Bread

Banana-Nut Bread
The distinctive tropical flavor and fragrance of bananas and their meaty texture make them a satisfying addition to quick breads. For the most pronounced flavor, use very ripe, plump bananas that give when gently pressed, with a skin color that ranges from yellow with an abundance of brown and black freckles to almost completely blackened. If you have very ripe bananas but are unable to make banana bread right away, peel and freeze them until ready to use.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room
     temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 or 3 very ripe bananas, coarsely mashed
     (about 1 1⁄2 cups)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1⁄2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 3⁄4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, pecans
     or hazelnuts

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the bananas and eggs and beat until smooth. Add the buttermilk and beat just until combined.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and nuts. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and beat just until combined. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It should be no more than two-thirds full. Bake until the loaf is dark golden brown and dry to the touch and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, 55 to 60 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Let the bread rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into thick slices to serve. Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf.

Storage Tip: Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature overnight or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Bread, by Beth Hensperger (Simon & Schuster, 2002).