Currant and Walnut Banana Bread
One of the first things that I ever baked in my life was a loaf of banana bread. There is something great about taking some bananas that are basically inedible and turning them into something very freakin’ delicious. What’s also nice about banana bread is that it’s very flexible. You can easily throw in a few things that you have in your pantry and kick it up a notch.
For this version, I threw in shredded coconut, walnuts, and currants. All of these worked wonderfully in banana bread.
In my opinion, one of the most important things about banana bread (besides having really ripe bananas) is to make sure you address texture along with taste. The bananas have good flavor, but your bread will be kind of mushy if you don’t add in some nice textures. The currants in this recipe give some chewiness to the bread and the walnuts give a bit of crunch.
Honestly, it’s a pretty fantastic loaf.
Currant and Walnut Banana Bread
Yield: 1 loaf.
8 Tablespoons butter, softened, plus a bit extra for the pan
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup whole wheat flour
1 Teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
3/4 Cups sugar
3 very ripe bananas, all mashed up
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/3 Cup shredded coconuts
1/3 Cup currants (all of these last three ingredients can be easily substituted with any dried fruit or nuts)
1) Get all the dry ingredients mixed up (flours, salt, baking powder, sugar).
2) Mush up the bananas.
3) Get the other dry ingredients ready (coconut, currants, and walnuts).
4) In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer, food processor, or even a whisk.
5) After a few minutes, the butter/sugar mixture should be nice and light. Then beat in one egg at a time and all the banana mush.
6) Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine them well.
7) Stir in the goodies.
8) Pour this batter into a standard 9 X 5 inch loaf pan that has been coated with butter and lightly floured.
9) Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees. A toothpick inserted in the very center should come out pretty clean.
10) Once it’s done baking, cool for about 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack. It needs to at least cool for 30 minutes. Slice it up!
Adapted from How to Cook Everything.
For the visually inclined:
Mixing the dry ingredients
This is a really easy batter to pull together actually, but the first step is getting all your dry ingredients mixed up. I think the whole wheat flour is a great addition to this recipe. If gives the final product an almost nutty flavor. It’s good stuff.
Then mush up your bananas. You don’t need to make them smooth. In fact, I like a bit of texture, but just kind of mush them together.
Then I like to get my other dry ingredients ready. For me that meant my coconut, currants, and walnuts. If you so choose, take artsy photos of these things.
Making the wet batter
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer, food processor, or even a whisk. After a few minutes, the butter/sugar mixture should be nice and light. Then beat in one egg at a time and all your banana mush.
Finishing the batter
Mix your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and combine them well. They should come together really easily. I like to do 1/2 of my dry ingredients, then combine that, then the final 1/2 of the dry ingredients.
Once it is all combined you can stir in your goodies.
Pour this batter into a standard 9 X 5 inch loaf pan that has been coated with butter and lightly floured. The batter should be pretty loose and should smooth out evenly.
Baking the loaf
Bake this guy for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees. My loaf definitely needed all 60 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the very center should come out pretty clean.
Once it’s done baking, the loaf needs to cool for about 5 minutes, then you can remove it from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack. It needs to at least cool for 30 minutes.
Then you can slice it up! It’s a really moist loaf which means that it stores really well. If you wrap this in foil it will keep for about 5 days without a problem.
If you are a beginner baker, I’m telling you to try this recipe. It has a ton of leeway to it. The bananas give a lot of moisture so it’s really hard to overcook and the batter is really easy to pull together.
If you’re looking for a solid, easy baking recipe, this is about as good as it gets.
Give it a shot!
Update: A very astute reader brought it to my attention that I say walnuts, but their are pecans in the photos! I have nothing to say on this except… oops. :) You could use either!