Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread

I'm not sure how I found this banana bread recipe (I'm going to "blame" it on Tastespotting), nor am I entirely certain what drew me to it.  I have that problem from time to time because I find recipes months and sometimes years before we actually get around to making them.  When I realized that we had 3 bananas that were verging on overripe last week, I set them aside to finally make this banana bread.  I also warned Alex not to touch them because he has a bad habit of eating my banana bread bananas, but that is beside the point. 

My initial thoughts on the first bite I took of banana bread was that the glaze was overpowering and the bread itself wasn't as tender or moist as I would have hoped.  Granted, we were eating an end piece, which is like eating the corner piece of cake - there's always too much icing/frosting/graze for me and it tends to be a little on the drier side than the rest of the cake.  Unless we're talking red velvet cake or carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (or Carvel cake for that matter), I want a very light layer of icing/frosting/glaze on the top of my cake and nothing on the sides.  Otherwise it is just way too saccharine sweet for me.  So I tend to avoid the ends and corners of all square or rectangle cakes.  So I wanted to reserve judgment on the banana bread as a whole until I had another slice.  Then I had another slice for breakfast the next morning and I still didn't love it.  The bread just isn't very tender - which I attribute to the use of whole wheat flour, but you can let me know if you disagree.  And the glaze is still a bit overpowering.  I guess I'm just not into glazes.  Oh well.  It was a fun idea while it lasted and it's not actually a bad banana bread, it's just not my kind of banana bread.  I guess it's back to the drawing board (or at least back to the banana bread recipes we already know and love)!

Recipe after the jump!

Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread
Available on 101 Cookbooks

For the banana bread:
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125g all-purpose flour
1 cup / 5 oz / 140g whole wheat flour
3/4 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup / 4 oz / 115 g coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups / 12 oz / 340 g mashed, VERY ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/4 cup / 60 ml plain, whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze:
1/2 cup / 3 oz / 85 g sifted dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55g confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan, or equivalent.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. You want to get that beautiful color on the cake, but at the same time you don't want to bake all the moisture out of it. So the minute you're in that zone, pull it. Erring on the side of under-baking versus over.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the sugars and the lemon juice until smooth. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, spreading with a spatula to cover.

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