Big news here on the triple B! Or perhaps not so big news, as this might be the moment that confirms my suspicions that my only readers are my mom and a few loyal friends pining for distraction during their work day (thanks Mom and friends who need to get back to work!), all of whom are already in the big news know. Either way, after 16 months of east coast living v.2.0, we are packing our bags yet again and moving west, destination San Francisco!
The process of prepping our 3rd (and, ahem, last for at least the next decade) cross-country move in 6 years has been a bit of a professional and logistical whirlwind. Finding myself in a bittersweet transition, the excitement for a new city, new opportunities and uncharted culinary and outdoor territory makes the inherent chaos of the process bearable. There’s a lot to miss in leaving North Carolina – close proximity to my family topping the list – but a lot to look forward to in returning to the left side of the country. What I have not been looking forward to, however, is selling our house. Now, being 6 days into our house being on the market and having been home for all of 2 of them, I can say with passionate resolve that I am not a fan of this process. I would much prefer the Seattle housing market, in which people throw tens of thousands of dollars above asking price at you as long as you don’t have an active meth lab in your basement. Or, depending on the neighborhood, sometimes if you do.
Stifling my true feelings on real estate discussions of the cost benefit analysis of leaving all the lights on 24/7 to create the illusion of a bigger closet is challenging. What’s even more challenging is keeping the house looking cozy and inviting like you want to live here, but clean like no one lives here, all the while living here. This is, not surprisingly, particularly difficult when it comes to the kitchen, where I tend to cook with what I feel is wild, passionate, productive abandon, but which has been suggested to more closely resemble the result of a natural disaster montage through a 600 lb bag of flour in the dairy aisle. So, on the eve of yet another viewing, perhaps exploding the kitchen in the name of banana bread was unwise, but you know what? It had to be done. After all, YOLO. (See! I am one sleeve tattoo away from cool enough to live in Oakland).
Better domestic judgement aside, I took to browning butter, a pastime that has been woefully abandoned in the hectic, DIY renovation dedicated evenings of the last few weeks. I consider banana bread to be a subtle comfort food. It’s sneaky enough that you can disguise as breakfast, substitute for a snack or leave for dessert and delicious no matter the timing. It’s hard to believe that browning the butter could make banana bread any better, but I assure you that it can. Browned butter makes the bread more dense while bringing out more flavor in the spices, both of which are high on my baked loaf priority list. Needless to say, it was exactly what I needed to convince myself that dusting the shelves (again) is a worthwhile endeavor. So please, dear viewers of my home tomorrow: accept the lofting aroma of freshly baked banana bread and, in return, ignore the sprinkling of flour I am sure is still tucked into many a kitchen crevice.
Brown Butter Banana Bread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cardamon
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 browned banana, mashed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
- Brown butter in a small saucepan then set aside to cool.
- While butter is browning, whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- With an electric mixer, blend browned butter and sugar.
- Add eggs and continue to mix with mixer on low. Add bananas and vanilla.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until well-blended, but not over-mixed.
- Pour batter into pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached, erring on the side of too moist (it will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven).
- Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
Adapted from The Foster’s Market Cookbook
- Extra ripe bananas are the key to keeping the loaf sweet and not too dry, so put them in the fridge if you have to, but wait until they are sufficiently past their prime.
- My loaf came out a little drier than I’d hoped, so for the next round I’m planning to try adding a 1 to 2 Tbsp of Greek yogurt and taking my own advice of taking it out before I think it’s done.
- Banana bread is yet another delicacy in which I’m a purist, but if you feel so inclined to add walnuts, pecans or raisins, I will do my best to withhold judgement. Just at least have the decency to toast the nuts first. Chocolate chunks permitted judgement free.
- You can easily double this recipe and split into two pans.