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This is a really great banana bread recipe from Nancy Silverton’s pastry book from La Brea Bakery. It’s really moist and flavorful. I substituted black walnuts for the pecans, and only toasted the regular walnuts. Black walnuts can be difficult to find but are well worth tracking down. If you’re from New England, you will recognize them as what makes that delightful and intoxicating turpentine- like smell when you run over them in the rain.

2/3 cup walnuts
2/3 cup pecans (or black walnuts)
4 bananas, mashed (Nancy has you mashing 3 to make 1 1/4 cups and using one whole banana for garnish. We made a half- recipe with 2 bananas and used them all mashed in the bread.
2 extra- large eggs
1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1 1/4 t baking soda
2 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t kosher salt (i used sea salt)
1 t cinnamon
3/4 t freshly ground nutmeg
scant 1/4 t ground cloves
1 T poppy seeds (we used 1 T for our half- recipe. We love poppy seeds)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (we used coconut palm sugar, normally used in place of brown sugar but has no molasses flavor, so…)
1/4 cup plus 2 T light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 and toast the nuts until lightly brown (if you use black walnuts in place of the pecans, only toast the traditional, English walnuts), about 8-10 minutes. Cool, chop coarsely, set aside. Turn oven up to 350.

Whisk banana puree, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and poppy seeds. mix on med-low until softened. Add sugars and turn up speed to medium high and beat until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, scraping sides as necessary. Add the flour and banana mixture in parts starting with the flour, mixing enough to just combine. Remove paddle and mix in nuts by hand. Pour into prepared loaf pan (I greased liberally with coconut oil and then floured). If you saved the 4th banana, cut 2, 1/4″ strips from the banana, lengthwise. Place on top, slightly interlocking the arcs. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes. We did a half recipe, which turned out to be about 40 minutes. Test with skewer, it should be not gooey. Don’t over bake!

Allow to cool in pan slightly, then turn out onto cooling rack. SLice and eat with butter, immediately.

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