Friday, June 8, 2012

The Best Banana Bread You'll Ever Taste

This is the stuff, my friends.  Look at it.  Moist, dark, full of flavor.  Well, you can't tell the last thing just by looking at the picture, but I assure you it is true.  This banana bread has rum, dark chocolatecaramelized sugar, and deep vanilla and warm spice tones.  What more could you ask for?
It is delicious sliced cold with a glass of milk for breakfast.  It tastes good fresh out of the oven, and it tastes even better on the second day, once the flavors have really melded together in the fridge.  This is breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dessert... heck, you can have this for dinner.

One-quarter cup of rum and one full tablespoon of vanilla extract go towards making this the most flavorful banana bread I've ever eaten.  The salt also rounds out the flavor of the banana and the dark chocolate chips that are studded throughout the bread elevate this to the status of heavenly.

The first time I made this recipe I actually forgot to count how many cups of flour I had put into the batter so I wasn't sure if it was 2 cups or 3 cups.  The batter seemed liquidy in the pan, but when it finished baking, it had a lovely bread-pudding texture that I absolutely adored.  The second time I made this, I actually used the right amount of flour and I got a true banana bread.  I actually prefer the bread-pudding results, but it's a personal preference thing, so both ratios are included below.

The Best Banana Bread You'll Ever Taste
adapted from an amalgamation of various recipes

5 ripe bananas (fresh or frozen)
10 tbsp melted salted butter
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract (yes that says tablespoon)
¼ cup of rum (4 tbsp)
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon (you could even up to this a tablespoon)
dash of ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups of flour (for bread pudding texture) or 2 ⅔ cups of flour (for bread-like texture)
½ to  ⅔ cup dark chocolate chips (depending on your personal preference)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mash the bananas very well with a fork (or better yet a potato masher, if you have one).
Mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla, rum, salt, and spices. Beat well to combine
Sprinkle the baking soda over the mixture and add the flour.  Mix and and stir to until almost combined.  Add in the chocolate chips.
Pour mixture into a buttered 9-inch springform pan (or, alternatively, two loaf pans). Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
Allow for cool for 5-10 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan.  Slice to serve.
Can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or cold (from the fridge - this is my preference).

Will keep in the fridge for 5-6 days.
Will keep in the freezer, sliced and well wrapped (plastic wrap and a ziplock bag) for a month.

Note: you can also make this recipe in a food processor!  Pulse the bananas first, then process them with the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, rum, salt, and spices.  Add the baking soda and pulse 2-3 times.  Add half of the flour and pulse 2-3 times.  Add the remaining flour and pulse again 2-3 times.  Then take out the food processor's blade and use a spatula to gently mix and fold the batter until it smooth.

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