Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They inevitably linger

I don't know about you, but this seems to happen a lot in our house:

We begin with the best of intentions. We want more fresh fruit on hand, to encourage healthy snacking. Husband wants bananas available for necessary post-run fuel. They're good for smoothies. So we buy five or six of them, then they inevitably linger, uneaten on the counter top, turning from lovely green-tinged yellow to gently speckled brown to black in the time it took me to write this sentence.

Then I make matters worse by getting up on my Tasteful Decor Horse, placing the bananas in a pretty frosted yellow glass dish on the shelf above the stove. Out of Husband's line of sight. And we all know that when something is out of Husband's sight, it is out of Husband's mind. Unless that something is Howard Stern. Or Mr. Met. Or greasy Chinese food from Rockland County, New York.

This rotten parade of banana flesh has been therefore enriching our compost pile. I often think that I should bake something (muffins, dog treats) with the darkening fruit, but I always end up missing the window as the bananas go from perfect-for-baked-goods to liquefied before I can get out the mixer.

Sunday night, though, I was victorious.

While mentally preparing for the series finale of "Lost," I happened to glance at the bananas, which I had moved from their stylish perch atop the stove back to their utilitarian counter top real estate. I was really tired, and I think I was mid-sentence talking about how tired I was, but I got up, walked across the room, grasped the bananas and started peeling them. I was determined to have freshly-baked banana bread -- made from not-wasted bananas -- in my hand before I learned if Jack had the ability to kill the Man in Black.

I can't help but think that if the Smoke Monster had some of this banana bread, studded with toasted pecans and flakes of sweetened coconut, maybe he wouldn't have been so cranky.


Adapted from More From Magnolia, by Allysa Torey

Baked in a tube pan, this banana bread can also pass for cake, especially if served with a little ice cream or homemade whip cream. Personally, though, I like it sliced in thin pieces, toasted and spread with salted butter. The breakfast of champions.

ALSO: This bread is even better with chocolate. So if you're feeling it, add in some (8 oz. or so) chips or chunks of your favorite chocolate when you stir in the coconut and pecans.

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. kosher salt
3/4 c. canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature, well beaten
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
3/4 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 c. sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the chopped pecans on a baking sheet and bake until toasty brown, 7-8 minutes (be careful not to burn them). Remove from the oven and let cool. Keep the oven at 350.

Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch tube pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the oil and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Add the bananas and sour cream, and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the pecans and coconut.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, being sure to check after 60 minutes to ensure that it's not over-baked. (A skewer inserted into the center of the bread should come out with moist crumbs attached.) Let cool in the pan for at least 1 hour before removing from the pan and serving.

Makes one 10-inch cake/bread.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: Christopsomos
Two years ago: Indian tacos, breakfast-style


Mallory said...

This happens all the time at my house too, but recently I read a blurb in cooking light about turning quickly ripening bananas into banana lime jam. Banana lime jam = way delicious and very very easy. But I love banana bread too and I've never thought of putting coconut in it.. maybe next time.

SweetsSuccessBaking said...

Isn't it great that ugly bananas can turn into something so good.

About the South Ben Stove - I would have done the same. What else do you need?

vegetablej said...

Gorgeous golden goodness, and not a slimy black bit in sight. A victory for you.

Unfortunately, I have a few in my fridge now that are quite dark but not yet oozy. My recommendation for an easy salvage is to peel them, wrap them in wax paper, then in foil or even easier, put them in a plastic container with a cover and freeze them. You can use them in smoothies or make "ice cream" by pureeing them in a food processor, just slightly thawed, with a little milk or soy milk and vanilla,if you like, or even put them in -- banana bread.