Thursday, November 13

Browned Butter Bourbon Banana Bread


My grandmother makes the best bread on earth. Everything from her sourdough to her zucchini bread-they have always been my favorite thing she makes.
Last weekend, however, I decided to venture out and try a new banana nut bread recipe. Something about the caramelized diced bananas and bourbon in this recipe caught my eye. Although the flavor was wonderful and it was cinch to make, I find it hard saying any bread is better than my grandma's. 
Since I believed there is a place for both the fun new recipes as well as those tried and true, I have included here my grandmother's famously delicious banana nut bread recipe in addition to my new browned butter bourbon banana bread recipe from Food 52. Hopefully you enjoy baking (and eating!) these breads as much as I do!
Browned Butter Bourbon Banana Bread

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
3 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon, brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/2 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease only the bottom of a standard size loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter over medium heat in a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Cook until it begins to brown, but not burn; it will smell nutty and fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Peel and dice one banana. Mash the remaining two bananas in a small bowl; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar in a small skillet over medium heat until it begins to melt and turn golden. Add diced banana pieces and sauté until well coated and caramelized. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Beat eggs on medium speed in a stand mixer. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat until foamy and combined. Add the mashed bananas, cooled browned butter, vanilla, and bourbon; beat until mixed well. Scrape down sides of bowl again with rubber spatula.

On low speed, pour in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix until just blended. Pour in 1/3 of buttermilk and beat until just blended. Repeat this process with remaining flour and buttermilk. Fold in pecans and caramelized banana pieces. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

My Grandmother's Banana Bread

Note: She would always suggest doubling the recipe and freezing half for later.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium bananas (dull yellow and flecked)
1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
2 egggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Sift flour, soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Mash bananas and whip until light. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar, then beat in eggs one at a time. Stir dry ingredients, bananas, and nuts into the creamed mixture. Turn into a greased loaf pan and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, November 11

Pecan Pie Bars


If you are looking for a simple way to say "Thanks!" this recipe would be a great place to start.

In two weeks we will be celebrating Thanksgiving of which Pecan Pie is obviously a holiday staple for many families.  Feeling inspired by the season and upcoming gift-giving,  I tried to think of how I might turn this recipe tradition into something that could easily be dropped off and enjoyed by friends, co-workers, and family. These bars are plenty gooey, sweet, and nutty - just like your favorite Pecan Pie. Enjoy!

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups milk
4 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
Caramel sauce (optional)

Grease an 8 x 8 pan with butter and sprinkle the bottom of the pan with 1 /2 cup of chopped pecans. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Melt the butter and set aside. Combine the milk and corn syrup in a bowl. Heat in the microwave or on the stove until lukewarm. Stir to dissolve the corn syrup.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, add the egg yolks to the brown sugar and whisk until light in color, about two minutes. Add vanilla and stir.

Add the water and melted butter to the brown sugar mixture and whisk again. Add the flour and mix until smooth. Then whisk the milk and vanilla extract mixture into the batter.

Incorporate the egg whites gradually, slowly using your whisk to combine them into the batter. If some egg whites are still visible that's okay.

Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle the rest of the pecans over the surface of the cake. Place in the oven for about 50 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares and drizzling with caramel sauce.  

Recipe adapted from the Foodness Gracious Blog