Monday, March 16, 2015

Battle of the Banana Breads

My son loves bananas, and I always have them in the house. But some weeks he is a little slow to eat them, and I need to make use of the overripe ones.

In the summer it's easy: I make all sorts of smoothies for him. He loves coming home from summer camp to find one ready for him in the fridge. It's a cool treat and a tad healthier than ice cream.

In the winter, I turn to my oven. I've made banana cookies, muffins, and even monkey bars, but banana bread feeds my family longer. The thing is, when you have a long winter like we've had this season, banana bread can get tiring pretty quick. So I made an effort to try some new recipes. I found two to try, taking a break from my go-to recipe, and here I rate them all.

Caramelized Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze
Recipe from: Cooking Light
Pros: Flavorful and moist. Does not develop a "crust" while baking
Cons: Cooking the bananas is not a step found in traditional recipes. If pressed for time it might not be a step you can afford to take.
Comments: A hit! Loved throughout the family. No one had any complaints, even though there aren't any chocolate chips in it.
Rating: 5 stars

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread
Recipe from: Little Bits of Baking, Crafting & Life
Pros: It has crumbs on top.
Cons: It has crumbs on top.
Comments: Originally from North Jersey, my husband and I are huge fans of the crumb bun, so we were excited to give this a try. Because the crumbs go on the bread before it goes in the oven, it takes longer to bake and subsequently develops a hard crust in order for it bake all the way through. I think it should be pre-baked for 15 minutes or so, before adding the crumbs on top and baking all the way through. I have not tested my theory, though.
Rating: 4 stars

Buttermilk Banana Bread
Recipe from: Grace and Good Eats
Pros: It allows me to use up both bananas and any buttermilk I have lingering in the fridge.
Cons: I added 1/4 cup Nutella to this recipe, which meant it had to be baked longer and the bread developed a crust.
Comments: Very quick and easy to make. At the last minute I decided to swirl a 1/4 cup Nutella into the batter once it was in the loaf pan. This resulted in a longer baking time. I would be willing to make this again without the Nutella -- to my husband's and son's disappointment.
Rating: 4 stars

Overall: We enjoyed all three of these recipes. Personally, I like a soft banana bread and the first recipe does not form a crust during baking. But if you have overripe bananas in your kitchen, any of these recipes is a great way to use them.


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