Banana Walnut Bread
6 large bananas (about 2 lbs)
8 tbsp unsalted butter
8 3⁄4 oz all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda
1⁄2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
5 1⁄4 oz brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3⁄4 cup walnuts
1 tbsp granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Peel 5 of the bananas and put them in a large glass bowl. Microwave them for about 5 minutes, until they get soft, mushy and release some liquid. Discard the banana liquid at the bottom of the bowl and mash the bananas. They should have the consistency of mashed potatoes and still be quite moist, but not too wet. Set aside.
In a large pan over medium heat, melt the stick of butter. Now, this next part is tricky. As soon as the butter melts completely, it will start splattering because the water is evaporating. Keep watching it closely, don't go away from the stove not even for one minute! As soon as it stops splattering (after maybe 3-4 minutes), it will slowly start browning. Keep watching it, because the difference between browned butter and burnt butter is a matter of seconds! Just let the butter brown in the pan for about a minute or two, until it turns into a deep amber color. Immediately remove from heat and set aside! The butter should be a light brown color (not black and burnt) and should smell almost like caramel.
Add the browned butter to the mashed bananas and whisk in the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Set aside. This is your wet ingredient mix.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk together. As with all baking, I strongly suggest you use a kitchen scale and measure your ingredients by weight. It's the best way to ensure you have the right ratio of wet to dry ingredients and the perfect moisture level every time you bake.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk with a stand mixer. You can, of course, do this by hand also. Fold in the walnuts. Scrape the batter into an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
Peel and slice the 6th banana. Shingle the banana slices on top of the batter in 2 rows down the middle. Sprinkle the top of the batter with a tablespoon of granulated sugar. Bake the loaf for about 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. If you're baking this in a 9x5 inch pan you may need to reduce the baking time by about 5 minutes. Allow to cool for about an hour before serving.
As the loaf is cooking, it's rising and pushing aside your 2 rows of sliced bananas. In the picture above, you can see right at the edges of the loaf that there are a few slices of bananas. The granulated sugar should also caramelize and create a crunchy, sweet topping.
The banana bread should keep at room temperature for a few days, just make sure you wrap it tightly to keep it moist.
Makes 1 loaf