Christmas Eve + Banana Bread
It's 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and I'm baking.
I'm at my own home this evening, but tomorrow I'll drive to my parents' house, a fresh loaf of whole wheat banana bread in tow. This is the quick bread I often bring as a hostess gift around the holidays, when everyone is inundated with plates of cookies and confections (very few of which are worth the calories).
Last weekend's banana bread recipients were pleased — one friend consumed it at least twice a day and swore it was never-ending, like the loaves and fishes. A scoop of ice cream turns it into dessert, but I love it lightly toasted alongside a cup of coffee. The highlights of the recipe: sour cream for moisture, dark brown sugar for a more complex flavor, and whole wheat flour for a firmer texture.
I discovered this recipe in Molly O'Neill's New York Cookbook, a terrific compendium of stories and recipes for a truly astonishing array of dishes, from falafel to Southern-style greens to chopped liver (yes, chopped liver). This banana bread keeps for about 4 days at room temperature if well-wrapped. Best of all, it freezes beautifully.
My apologies for the far-from-ideal photo. It's getting dark — no natural light to be had. Merry Christmas!
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
Adapted from New York Cookbook
Makes 1 loaf
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon basking soda
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, about 2 medium
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x5x3 1/2 inch loaf pan with butter or Baker's Joy spray.
Cream the softened butter and brown sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat together. Combine the baking soda and sour cream, then beat this mixture into the batter.
Sift together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt. Alternately add the flour mixture and the mashed bananas to the batter and mix until well combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly into the corners. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Allow it to cool on wire rack.