Friday, July 16, 2010

Banana Bread

There's nothing quite as comforting and easy to bake as a simple loaf of banana bread. Whenever I'm expecting guests to my little downtown studio apartment, I like to whip up the batter for this bread and then pop it into the oven about an hour before they're expected to arrive. It's a quick last-minute hostess trick I picked up (1) from Clueless (i.e. "Whenever a boy comes over you should always have something baking." Just kidding. Kind of.) and (2) from my mom, who makes this kind of thing seem like a sixth sense.

Anyway, this banana bread is doubly amazing because not only does it make my whole apartment smell really homey and warm and delicious, but it also looks a lot more impressive than it actually is. This particular recipe comes together so easily that it's literally almost effortless. Plus, you'll most likely have 90% of the ingredients handily in your pantry already.

Last Minute Banana Bread
Adapted from Saveur
Butter, for greasing pan
1 cup flour, plus more for pan
3⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup canola oil
1⁄3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2⁄3 cup chopped pecans
3 very ripe bananas, mashed

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" x 5" x 
2 3⁄4" loaf pan with butter and dust with flour; set pan aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Whisk together sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Add pecans and mashed bananas and whisk gently to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean, 60–65 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.