Today’s recipe is a classic that I never get tired of. Nothing quite says comfort like a big slice of banana bread, and I’ve always relied on my faithful old recipe. After seeing Cook’s Illustrated‘s banana bread makeover, however, I was inspired to infuse some of their techniques into my tried and true method. And the result was delightful.

Here’s how it’s done:

FiveStar Banana Bread

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

Makes 1 loaf, Serves 10-15 hungry bread lovers

Ingredients

4 very ripe bananas

1/3 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup white granulated sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups flour*

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

*All purpose flour works best, but you could also use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a loaf pan and set aside. Peel the bananas and place in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove and drain liquid into small pot. Transfer pot to stove top. Heat the banana liquid over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, until reduced by about half. Add butter to pot and let melt. Remove from heat and let stand 1 minute. Meanwhile, mash bananas in a large bowl. Add butter mixture along with vanilla, sugar, and egg to bananas. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and stir with a whisk to mix. Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring gently, until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake about an hour, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on cooling rack for 1 hour; then remove, slice, and serve.

Mmmmm… mmmmm… that’s some yummy banana bread! Processing the bananas to reduce their liquid really boosts the banana flavor while keeping the bread from becoming too dense. This was a big hit in the break room (our official taste-test headquarters)!

Have you recently (or not so recently) discovered a new technique for jazzing up a classic recipe? Share in the comments!

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