Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Almond-Banana Bread

Banana bread is undoubtedly a staple baked good. It is one of the first recipes that I began fiddling with when starting off in my baking en devours. I have experimented with the addition of chocolate, coconut and all of the above; however, there is nothing like the classic loaf. Keep in mind, my classic banana bread contains the not so typical almonds (as apposed to walnuts).

Plan on needing t
he following ingredients:
1 Cup (White) Sugar
1/4 Cup Butter, Softened
3 Ripe Bananas, Mashed
1/4 Milk
1/4 Cup Greek Strained Yogurt
2 Large Egg Whites
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon All Spice
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Whole Almonds

(Oven should be preheated to 350°)

Start by combining the sugar and softened butter in a bowl. Beat these ingredients together at a medium speed until th
ey are well-blended. Proceed to add the mashed bananas, milk, yogurt, egg whites and vanilla extract. These ingredients should also be beat well and eventually set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients--flour, baking soda, salt, all spice and cinnamon. These can be sifted or whisked but must be mixed well.

Prepare almonds by roughly chopping them on a cutting board. This can be done with a sharp kitchen knife--leave the tip of the blade on the stable surface while using the palm of your hand to move the knife rapidly up and down.

- After chopping the almond, be sure to save the small pieces and powder that remains (this will be used later on in the recipe).
- Feel free to substitute walnuts for whole almonds.

Pour the roughly chopped almonds in the batter. Remove the bowl from your mixing machine and fold in the nuts by hand (using a spatula). This will prevent the almonds from breaking down further.

Pour the batter into a 9 X 5 loaf pan after coating it with cooking spray. The powder and small almond pieces that remained from chopping may be used to garnish the top. You may also want to consider using slice almonds (can be store bought for convenience sake).

The batter will be baked for about an hour--when the timer goes off be sure to test the bread with a toothpick (if it comes out clean, then it is done). Let it cool slightly before placing it on a rack. Removing a baked good from the pan when fresh out of the oven may cause it to collapse. After your banana bread is at a reasonable temperature, there's only one thing to do..

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