banana bread

Leggi questo post in: Italiano

despite francesca from equazioni’s protests (she wrote “enough of these recipes that make me so hungry!”), here i am with another recipe! this time it’s a more or less healthy cake using up all those hideous old, black bananas you have hanging around. this recipe comes from the cookbook “the best recipe.” the version that i have is from 1999, but i saw that there is a more recent version. this cookbook has tons of wonderful typical american recipes. the authors did lots of tests for each recipe to find the best ingredients and methods. as always, i’ve made a few changes, so i’ll write it down here. i know that it can get complicated for italians to use american recipes because, while american recipes use precise volume measurements for ingredients, italian recipes use almost always weight measurements. i don’t know what it’s like in other countries, so i’ll include the notes that i wrote in my italian version of this. and then, sorry for the crummy photo. i try to never use the flash, but i baked this one evening and i knew that it would never make it intact until the next morning to take a picture with natural light!

ingredients: 2 cups of flour (1 “cup” as meant by the US system is the same as 250 ml), 3/4 cup of sugar, 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 very ripe bananas , 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 2 large eggs, 6 tablespoons olive oil, 1 fresh lemon or orange, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (this is an ingredient which i’ve never found in italy. you can find my recipe for it here. if you don’t want to make or look for it, i have an idea that i’ll write below)

1. preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). i use a rectangular loaf pan, but i’ve also used a bundt cake mold. rub a bit of butter (or shortening or whatever else you may use) on the inside to keep the bread from sticking.

2. in a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. you can also add a cup of chopped walnuts, but i prefer it without. if you don’t have vanilla extract, you can try to use a little envelope of something like the italian “pane degli angeli,” which is a rising agent with vanilla flavor in it. if you use something like this, you will be leaving out both the vanilla extract and the baking soda. i’ve never tried this myself, but i don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

3. in a regular bowl, mash the bananas (i use a potato masher) and mix them with the yogurt (i generally don’t have plain yogurt around the house and generally end up using fruit flavored ones, which is just fine and adds an interesting flavor), the eggs, the oil (the original recipe calls for butter, but it’s much lighter with oil), and vanilla extract, if you’re using it. then add the grated peel of the whole lemon or orange. i really like using the microplane classic series grater.

4. add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing well. then dump it all in the pan and bake for about 50-55 minute. when you insert a wooden toothpick in the center, it should come out clean, without anything stuck to it.

5. let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then take it out and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.

this bread/cake is great for breakfast, with tea, for a snack, or whenever you want. my daughter loves helping me by measuring and mixing the ingredients and even more loves eating it. and we big people love it too because it’s a very good and somewhat healthy cake.

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