Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Hawaiian Banana Bread
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...My homey's call this lovely banana loaf King Kamehameha bread. We first had it in Hawaii several years ago. It is a lovely loaf whose taste has been enhanced by some very pleasant memories. When we returned from the islands, I began to search for a banana bread recipe that had the same plantation flavors as the bread we so enjoyed. Some find it strange that my quest for new foods begins with a search rather than an experiment. The work I did before retirement taught me not to reinvent the wheel, and, for better or worse, I've carried that belief into my kitchen. I don't create or develop recipes unless I absolutely have to, or I have a truly original idea. That I ever began to enter cooking contests is a mystery to those who know me, and that I actually began to win some is a miracle to me. So, it should come as no surprise, that rather than parse taste memories, I began a search for a recipe I suspected already existed. The search brought me to this lovely bread from Gourmet Magazine. It is very close to the one we sampled on the islands. There are some tricks to making a great banana bread and if you want full banana flavor you have to start with really nasty bananas. The best bananas, from a cook's perspective, are the ones that have huge leopard spots on their exteriors. Beautiful bananas look lovely in a fruit bowl but they make anemic breads, cakes or puddings. I also find it important to toast nuts and other dry additions that are folded into quick breads. Toasting will enhance their flavors as well. This bread is very moist and, if well-wrapped, will stay fresh for several days. It is easy to make and, in the great scheme of things, fairly inexpensive to make. If you can't find macadamia nuts in your area, almonds or pine nuts can be substituted. This is a wonderful bread and I think you'll enjoy it. The aroma as it bakes has been known to make grown men weep. Here's the recipe.
Hawaiian Banana Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Gourmet Magazine
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1-1/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
3 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts, lightly toasted and cooled
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted and cooled
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pans.
Dust with flour. Set aside.
2) Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In another large bowl, cream butter with sugars with an electric mixer. When mixture is light and fluffy beat in vanilla, eggs, one at a time, zest, banana, and sour cream. Add flour mixture, beating batter until it is just combined. Stir in macadamia nuts and coconut.
3) Divide the batter between loaf pans and smooth tops. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Remove bread from pans. Complete cooling on racks. Yield: 2 loaves.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Lemon Poppyseed Bread - One Perfect Bite
Sugar Crusted Viennese Nut Bread - One Perfect Bite
Three Savory Quick Breads - One Perfect Bite