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Ultimate Banana Bread

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“Most banana breads are either lacking in flavor or hopelessly dense. This version cooks out some of the water to help reduce the density. The bananas should be VERY ripe, heavily speckled with brown and black. You may use thawed, frozen bananas for the five mashed bananas; because they will exude a lot of liquid when thawing, you can skip the microwaving step and simply put them in the strainer. (Peel them before freezing to prevent the extracted liquid from turning black.) Do not use a frozen banana for the top of the loaf; it will be too soft to slice. Adapted from Cook's Illustrated.”
1hr 39mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, soda and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Peel 5 bananas and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, poke several holes, and microwave 5 minutes until bananas are soft and release water. Dump into a strainer set over a sauce pot and let stand about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You should have 1/2 to 3/4 c liquid.
  4. Transfer bananas to a bowl. Boil collected liquid over medium-high heat, until reduced down to 1/4 cup. Add syrup back to bananas and mash with a potato masher. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
  5. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Stir until just barely combined, with a few streaks of flour showing. Add nuts and fold gently.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Slice remaining banana into 1/4" slices on the bias. Arrange banana slices, overlapping, down the two long edges of the pan. Sprinkle top of banana slices and batter with sugar.
  7. Bake in preheated oven, 55-75 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let rest on a rack until completely cool. Tastes best the day its made, but will last up to 3 days if tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

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