Yesterday, I vowed to use five ingredients languishing in my pantry, or to die trying. Today, since I had some very ripe bananas, I decided to make banana bread. I made two subsequent decisions that led to the most flavorful, tender example of banana bread I have ever personally tasted. First, I decided to try Mark Bittman’s banana bread recipe from How to Cook Everything. Second, I decided to start my Pantry Reject Challenge by using my Manischewitz Cake Meal instead of regular flour called for in the recipe.
This banana bread is, seriously, to die for. It is infinitely better than what I have made using my previously posted recipe. It is tender, flavorful, moist, with a slightly crisp crust, and has a nice complexity from the unsweetened coconut and the nuts. I also like it better with butter instead of oil. The only hitch is that I will have to make it again with regular flour instead of the Cake Meal to see if that made a big difference in the fabulousness of the results.
In the meantime, here’s the recipe, stolen in its unaltered entirety from Mr. Bittman:
Makes 1 Loaf
Time: About 1 hour
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus some for greasing the pan
- 1 1/2 cups (about 7 ounces) all-purpose flour (this is where I substituted the Cake Meal, although it isn’t a one-to-one correspondence; 5/8 cup of Cake Meal = 1 cup all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1/2 grated dried unsweetened coconut (note that its unsweetened!)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
- Mix together the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and beat in the eggs and bananas. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients; do not mix more than necessary. Gently stir in the vanilla, nuts and coconut.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread will come out fairly clean when it is done, but because of the bananas this bread will remain moister than most. Do not overcook. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. To store, wrap in waxed paper.