Banana-Nut Bread

June 2, 2007

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When bananas get spotted and soft, it’s time to make banana-nut bread. Don’t even think of trying this with a banana you would slice on your morning cereal. And yes, do use vegetable shortening. Butter won’t give you the firm, moist crumb you need to balance all those bananas and nuts. Not only will you make someone very, very happy with this irresistible bread, you’ll make your entire home smell divine. But do not dig in when it comes out of the oven. You’ll be very disappointed. Banana-Nut Bread needs a full half-day of rest for the flavors to meld. SAM

1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan and set aside.

With an electric mixer fitted with beaters or the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger and add to the shortening mixture alternately with the bananas, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in the nuts by hand. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the center is firm and the sides have pulled slightly away from the pan. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out onto the rack to cool completely. Wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 10 to 12 hours before serving.
Makes 1 loaf or 12 slices.

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