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.