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Comparing Banana Breads

Most of the times, at least for the logical people, baking is the last thing on their minds as who would want their kitchens filled with hot air churning out from the ovens in the land of eternal summer?

If not for those limp and blackened bananas sitting in their Tupperware coffins, dawdling towards its expiry, I would have happily nodded my head in wholehearted agreement. These banana were long gone their prime time for smoothies but these were ironically the best state to make banana-anything. If my helper was still around, I would have happily asked her to make those arteries-clogging Jemput-Jemput (aka banana fritters), unfortunately, she was not.

So I cranked up my oven to 180 degC and got down to work.

I have made banana bread many times with the recipe from Joy of Cooking ('97 edition) and was quite happy with it. So when I realised that JOC came up with a 2019 edition, I knew I need to get my paws on it ASAP and try out that version of Banana Bread. 

So thanks to National Library Board, I got to browse through the book without spending a single cent! I am cheap like this. 

This recipe is almost 95% similar to the '97 edition and the end result tasted wonderful as well. 

For those who are a stickler for precise measurements, go with the 1997 edition. For this, I wouldn't want to bother with the 5 1/3 tbsp butter myself. Would you? 

So how did the 2019 edition turn out?

Joy of Cooking ('19 Ed) Banana Bread

I must say that this recipe was good enough that I cranked up the oven again to make the Marbled Banana Bread. The streaks of intense cocoa cake-like veins studded with chunks of melty chocolates running through the loaf was really wonderful. So much so that everyone was asking if I could just make the whole thing with just the chocolate part.

Joy of Cooking ('19 Ed) Marbled Banana Bread

These recipes are certainly a keeper and I am sure that I will be tempted to make them again should I be fortunate enough to have over-ripe bananas sitting around despite the searing temperature here. That is how insane I have become after tasting them.

Banana Bread
(Joy of Cooking 2019 Edition)
Makes 9 x 5-inch loaf.

Preheat oven to 350 degF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together in a medium bowl:
1 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Beat in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, until creamy:
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
6 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, softened
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Beat in:
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3)

Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. If desired, fold in:
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots or candied ginger

Scrape the batter into the prepare pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan on the rack, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.

Variation: Marbled Banana Bread
Prepare the batter for Banana Bread above. Divide the batter evenly between two bowls. Add 3 tbsp (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted and 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks to one bowl, and fold in just until combined. Alternate dollops of plain and chocolate batter in the prepared loaf pan, and use a butter knife or spatula to swirl the batter. Bake as directed.


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