Saturday, November 15, 2008

Black Banana Bread

The name of this recipe does not refer to the color of the bread, rather it describes the color that the banana peels should be before using. The banana peels should be so black that you probably wouldn't want to eat them raw, because the flesh is more brown than light. However, bananas of this condition are PERFECT for baking with!
As with most of my cooking, I also experiment with baking. I try to push myself to use creativity along with or instead of a recipe. And if the end result is bad, so what? We all make mistakes, and move on from there.
This is a recipe I created last night. Fortunately it turned out better than expected. It uses an alternative sweetener, agave, which contributes a sort of maple-smokiness along with being sweet (sweeter than sugar, even). I also used pecans, which I don't usually do. Add nuts, that is. I'm not sure if pecans actually taste buttery naturally, or if I'm so used to eating them in butter pecan ice cream that I just associate them any time as buttery, but either way, the richness pecans lend to this bread is wonderful.
Finally, I decided to use whole wheat flour, because I just think it tastes better than white. Actually, the very fact that it has a flavor is more than I can say for white flour. It's sweet and distinctive, and works very well in this recipe.
Here it is:
Preheat oven to 325 and lightly grease a loaf pan.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together:
1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder

In a second bowl, mix wet ingredients together:
4 black bananas, peeled and mashed to an almost homogeneous consistency (fewer lumps)
1/2 c agave nectar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 T vanilla
1/4 c vegetable oil

1/2 c roughly chopped pecans

Add banana mixture to dry ingredient mixture, and stir until completely incorporated. Add chopped pecans, and stir. Pour mixture into greased pan, and pop in the oven for about 45-55 minutes. Check your loaf after about 45 minutes. It should be nicely browned and, when a toothpick or pairing knife is stuck down the center, it should come out *mostly* clean. Some goo is okay- it can either be banana goo, or if you like your loaves moister, this is okay. However, there should not be raw dough visible on the toothpick (or knife). If there is, keep it in the oven for longer, perhaps checking every 5 minutes.

Remove from oven, and when the loaf pan is warm enough to touch, invert it to release the bread onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before cutting, otherwise bread may dry out (yuck).

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