Have you heard of Cooks illustrated or America’s test kitchen? First if not you should! And I am a huge fan, so when they contacted me and sent me their new cookbook I thought how cool! I screamed with excitement, maybe multiple times over ha. The thing is I just love their approach, concepts and core values. They say “repetition and good practice are keys to success in the kitchen” as well as “A good cook will learn from his her mistakes and make a better dish next time”. Hello that is huge! I mean if you can take on those mantras it will change the way you approach cooking, or photography, or really any skill you may be learning. It helps us keep pressing through and even laugh at ourselves.
The other thing about their new cookbook 100 recipes is that it is a compilation of essential basic and staple recipes. In my opinion it’s those simple recipes that are the key to cooking, and becoming a cook. Once you learn these skills you can truly become and expert and then break the rules, and come up with your own recipes. They are the foundation and building blocks to the kitchen. Now the only thing I would say for someone who has food allergies such as myself, many of the recipes are adaptable. But you will have to put some work in to get it just right if you have never done that type of thing before.
Usually during the fall I make pumpkin bread, this year I wanted to switch it up and chose the banana bread recipe from America’s test kitchen 100 recipes cookbook. I am going to be a stickler, with baking itself you really need to follow word for word the recipe. Down to each minute detail to get it right. Unfortunately, I had to change the butter out for olive oil, as well as the flour for gluten free flour. But when I switched out those to things and followed their recipe through and through it really worked! I would say their method was spot on and would totally recommend anyone just learning to give it a go. The banana bread was moist and yummy and lasted 24 hours in my house because everyone loved it so much.
Now for the recipe, this is from the 100 recipes cookbook; I did not come up with this on my own, as well as in the margins I will give you substitutions.
Also A big thank you to America’s Test kitchen for sending me their lovely book and giving cooks around the country the confidence to venture into the culinary world!
Ultimate Banana bread
Makes 1 loaf
Note: Be sure to use very ripe, heavily speckled (or even black) bananas for this recipe. The texture is best when the loaf is eaten fresh, but once cooled completely, it can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and stored for up to three days.
1 ¼ cups (8 ¾ ounces) all-purpose flour (or one to one gluten free mix)
1-teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6 very ripe bananas (2 ¼ pounds), peeled
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (or olive oil if allergic)
2 large eggs
¾ cup packed (5 ¼ ounces) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ cup walnuts, chocolate chips chopped (optional)
1.Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 ½ by 4-½ inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
2.Place 5 bananas in separate bowl, cover and microwave until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine- mesh strainer over medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, for 15 min (you should have ½ to ¾ cup liquid).
3. Transfer to medium saucepan and cook over medium – high heat until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Return drained bananas to bowl. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until mostly smooth. Whisk in melted butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
4. Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined, with some strokes of flour remaining. Gently fold walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Shingle banana slices on top of the loaf in 2 rows, leaving 1 ½ inch –wide space down center to ensure even rise, Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.
5. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center of loaf comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1-¼ hours, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let loaf cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving
Sources and notes:
This is or was not a sponsored post. All recipes were written and developed by Americas test kitchen, they are not property of Nicole Lee or Hey Dear. All rights Reserved.
America's Test Kitchen : https://www.americastestkitchen.com