First, before I delve into the beauty that is Tyler Florence’s banana bread (seen above, in all of its bready, banana-y glory), I want to thank all of YOU! My blog has almost reached 3,000 page views, and I want to say a serious and sincere thank you to everyone who’s supported GKG since it launched in June. You guys — friends, family, fellow bloggers — are the best. I love you for reading, eating, commenting, and peeking. Thank you!
Now, where was I? Oh, right … the most decadent banana bread I’ve ever made. True story. (Cue Barney Stinson?)
Last Christmas, my older sister (of “Midgie Kitchie” fame — couldn’t that be the cutest name for a blog? I digress … ) gave me a fabulous, lovely present. It was a signed (!) copy of Tyler Florence’s latest cook book, Family Meal. If you find yourself in a Barnes and Noble (but, alas, not Borders … R.I.P.) or poking around Amazon, here’s the cover of this fun, hearty and home cooking-minded text:
The text (Tyler, are you reading?? I’ve been a fan since “Food 911!”) is informative, well laid-out, and centered on the idea of food as the source of community and family. Even in our busy, flurried 21st century, Tyler’s book takes the time to focus on local eats from his Mill Valley, CA home; dishes from his childhood in South Carolina; and, in my favorite section, meals inspired by his neighbors’ and friends’ actual potluck offerings.
It was the “Southern” section where I found this beauty:
Awwww, yeah. I couldn’t pass up the chance to try my hand at another banana bread. I’ve used, semi-abused, and played around with the classic Better Homes & Gardens banana bread recipe for years, and I was ready for a new technique and a new challenge. I made a few miiinor adjustments (namely, using walnuts instead of pecans, since I had them on hand — I sense that South Carolina cooks are judging me right now, which is more than fair) and a couple of mistakes along the way, but it turned out to be one of the best banana bread recipes I’ve tried.
For the nutrition-minded reader and eater, it’s a bit of the rich side — Tyler makes no sacrifices when it comes to butter! — but, given that this isn’t exactly a daily occurrence, I let it slide. And ran an extra mile on my afternoon jog. 🙂 Plus, as the wise women in “Julie & Julia” noted, is there anything better than butter? Nope.
Tyler Florence’s “Family Meal” Banana Bread — makes 1 loaf
- 2 cups all-purpose white flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 overripe bananas
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks — yup) butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pecans (er, walnuts?), finely chopped, plus more for decorating the top of the loaf
- Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
Here’s what you do:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a bread loaf pan with cooking spray or butter. Chop your walnuts into bite-size pieces if they’re whole or in large chunks.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda & salt; set aside. Mash 2 of the bananas in a small bowl. Then, in a third bowl, use an electric mixer or some good ole’ elbow grease to whip the other bananas and sugar together for about 3 minutes. Your goal is to create a smooth banana “cream.”
- To THIS bowl, add butter, eggs, and vanilla, beating well and scraping down the sides. Add flour mixture and mix thoroughly; fold in pecans / walnuts with a rubber spatula until well-distributed within the batter.
- Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Give it a rap or two on the counter to release any air bubbles trapped in the pan. (Tyler’s suggestion — I forgot to do this, and my loaf was still ok!) Arrange the additional pecans / walnuts on top of the batter decoratively.
- Bake for 1 hr and 15 minutes, rotating the loaf every 25 minutes to ensure even browning. Check with a toothpick when finished — if it comes out clean, you and your bread are good to go.
- Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan. Then, using a knife around the edges to release the loaf, remove the bread and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
Tyler (first names = yup, we’re totally friends. I wish!) suggests serving the bread toasted with powdered sugar on top. I’ll confess that I ate it plain, and it was fabulous. Give it a try on a Saturday morning — wake up your roomies with the smell of baking banana bread, and trust me, they won’t even notice the mountain of dirty dishes on the countertop!
What are your favorite banana bread recipes? Do you prefer other quick breads, like zucchini bread or apple bread? Thoughts on Tyler’s recipe (or his dashing good looks, hehe)?