Sunday, April 17, 2011
Banana bread is to quickbreads as chocolate chip cookies is to cookies. There can never be too many banana bread recipes or variations on the old classic. So, here is yet another one to try when you have a bunch of overripe bananas in your fruit bowl. This recipe comes from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book. What makes it unique is the caramelized apples that are folded into the batter just before baking. It does require a few more steps than regular banana bread does, but it is worth it.The bread is filled with undertones of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. I love the textural contrast between bread and fruit. The tender pieces of apple are like gems strewn throughout the loaf. The high fruit content also keeps this loaf moist. It stores well for several days. Caramelized Apple Banana BreadMakes 1 loaf | Sweet Melissa Baking Book For the apples 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract For the banana bread 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick) 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1/4 cup fresh orange juice 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 1/4 cups very ripe mashed bananas (2 to 3) 1. Before you start: Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan. 2. To make the apples: Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling. Add the apples and cinnamon and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. 3. To make the banana bread: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. 4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 5. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the orange juice mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each flour addition. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined. Then stir in the reserved apples. 6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool further. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.