I haven't been in my kitchen very much lately, sidetracked by a nasty cough that kept me down for a week. It didn't, however, keep me from thinking about food -- constantly. I spent my time going through blogs I haven't visited in a while and reading the cookbooks, My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz and Paris to Provence by Ethel Brennan & Sara Remington (do you see a pattern here?).
When I finally did make it back into my kitchen, I found bananas that would serve no other purpose than to be made into a sweet treat... and remembered the recipe for Nutella Swirled Banana Bread I had seen on Zoe Bakes (recipe HERE), the blog by pastry chef and fellow Twin Citian, Zoë François. The recipe makes two loaves and they disappeared quickly. I would not make any changes to the recipe, other than possibly adding some nuts next time. Loved it!
• 2 cups ripe, mashed bananas
• 1 cup brown sugar, packed
• 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
• 1/2 cup milk
• 2 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 cup Nutella
1. PREHEAT OVEN to 350˚F
2. Grease two 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch bread pans with butter. Line the bottoms of each pan with a strip of waxed paper or parchment, allowing the ends of the paper to hang over the sides of the pan by an inch or two. Butter the parchment paper as well.
3. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas, leaving some small lumps, and set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar-butter mixture, just until smooth. Add the bananas and mix just to combine.
5. Zoe's recipe calls for warming the Nutella briefly in a microwave (about 20 seconds) then pouring 2/3 of the Nutella over the banana bread mixture. Very gently fold the Nutella through the batter, creating ribbons of Nutella streaking the bread. Divide the batter between the two pans and drizzle the remaining Nutella evenly over both breads, swirling it into the batter. I, on the other hand, was not following the recipe closely and added the entire 1/2 cup Nutella (unwarmed) to the batter. I was able to fold it into the bread just fine, but next time will definitely warm it first.
6. Bake the loaves on the middle rack of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean.
7. Allow the loaves to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. This bread is excellent when eaten warm from the oven, which is exactly what I did!
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