In my old j-o-b as a Music Director at a radio station, I was an arbiter of taste. Now I’m an arbiter of taste buds. I used to sift thru all the new releases to find the best music for our listeners. I like to think I was pretty good at it; supporting artists like The Head And The Heart, Norah Jones, and Adele weeks, months, even years before they went into heavy rotation at radio stations, Grey’s Anatomy episodes, and credit card commercials. I’m not a musician, but I’ve been told I have good ears (they’re big enough, jeez) and great taste.
Same deal for baking; I’m no master chef, but I can spot a good recipe, and this one for banana bread might be one of the best. Seriously, never let a brown banana go to waste ever again. This recipe from Gourmet Magazine August 2003 is super easy, comes together quickly and yields big results: 2 delicious loafs that will dazzle your friends and family if you can bring yourself to share!
Ok, so maybe I’m not shaping people’s musical taste or helping propel artists into the limelight anymore. For now, if I can just get you to keep creme fraiche on hand at all times, I’m good with that. In fact, I’m b-a-n-a-n-a-s.
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
- 2 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.
Sift together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.
Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, crème fraîche, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts gently but thoroughly.
Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Cool loaves in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.