A second look at banana bread that is. Although there is nothing wrong with my good ole fashion stand by banana bread recipe I felt the need to try this recipe out of my new Cook's Illustrated light cookbook. This recipe turned out pretty darn tasty (which means that my husband is probably upstairs sneaking pieces of it as I type this :) but I will probably stick with my other recipe just because I do not usually have yogurt or cake flour in the house and the other recipe actually calls for less flour and only 1 tbls more of butter so the healthiness of them is probably pretty close. Feel free to try the other recipe and also this one and let me know which you like better; because honestly, if I do not have them both in front of me to take a bite of one and then a bite of the other I can not remember what they taste like so it is hard for me to compare them. :)
I had a couple strawberries left over from the strawberries and cream tart that I made the other day so I pureed them (in my handy dandy new food processor) and tried to swirl those into the batter. It looked beautiful on the top but the color never went through to the middle of the loaf but that's ok, I won't shed a tear (I promise). :)
(Source: The Best Light Recipe by Cook's Illustrated)
1 1/2 cup (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
3 very ripe, darkly speckled large bananas (about 1 1/4 pounds) mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbls unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 -inch loaf pan with the non-stick baking spray. Mix the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the mashed bananas , yogurt, and vanilla together; set aside.
2. Beat the remaining 1.2 cup sugar and butter together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Beat in half of the flour mixture until just incorporated, followed by one-third of the banana mixture, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add half of the remaining flour, followed by another one-third of the banana mixture. Repeat this process once more, being careful not to overmix the batter, which should look thick and chunky.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top evenly with the walnuts (if using). bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few attached, about 55 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the loaf to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)