November 12, 2009

My Best Banana Bread

Allow me to introduce you to a new very special someone in my life…


To answer your unasked but anticipated questions: yes, it is as wonderful as they say; yes, it is absolutely the heaviest item in our entire household; yes, I feel rather lucky and pretty spoiled to be the recipient of this thing. But guilt aside, having this mixer on my counter feels like crossing a sort of threshold. I think I have just entered the realm of Fancy Baker Type. More importantly, if I ever needed a push to whip up more cookies and cakes (I didn’t), this is it. I’m positively chomping at the bit to feed people desserts.


Which is why last weekend you could find me in the eye of a floury storm. First up was banana bread. Now, I know people have staunchly held beliefs about what they want from their banana bread, and I wouldn’t dare to call this the best banana bread. But in terms of what I’m looking for — a tender crumb but not cakey, a pronounced banana flavor without other distractions, and a relatively healthy composition — this is it.

I served this to a highly discerning friend (the type who can actually identify notes of cassis and butter in the wine you serve her) on an overcast Saturday afternoon. She came over wearing a plaid shirt and suede boots, tucked her legs under her on the couch, and declared this banana bread delicious. That out of the way, we poured the tea, and the real talk could commence.

Banana Bread
adapted from Cooking Light
makes 1 loaf

Do jazz this up with walnuts or chocolate chips, if you are so inclined. I think the results would be divine.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
⅓ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.

Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve with tea; eat with a friend on a rainy afternoon.

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  • academicsocialite: I have to say, I do love mine. I call it my Porsche because of its fire engine red color and because it’s the most expensive thing in our kitchen. But yes, it does the trick when I want to whip up a carrot cake or some such delectable baked good. Did you happen to test it out, on say, a pound cake recently? Yum!6 years ago

  • Your nickname is too funny. I suppose mine needs a name too. Ideas, anyone? And yes! The pound cake is coming up soon!6 years ago

  • Danielle: I would not give mine up for anything. Take all of my other kitchen gadgets, just leave my KitchenAid alone!!! Enjoy your toy. It kneads dough better and better each time I use it. :)6 years ago

  • Aimee: I adore my KitchenAid mixer! Happy that you have one. :) Is it pink?

    This bread sounds divine.6 years ago

  • Anna of Live Solid: I just got one, too! Mine is brushed nickel and named The Answer. :)6 years ago

  • Aimee, Yes, it’s pink!

    Anna, The Answer! That’s hilarious.6 years ago

  • Katy: delicious and adorable. what kind of tea?6 years ago

  • Adrienne: Oh, sigh of all sighs, I don’t have one… yet. And I actually lost the mixing wands of my hand held mixer when I moved a couple of months ago. I’ve been doing everything with a spoon and a whisk; you should see my right arm, it’s HUGE.6 years ago

  • Katy, Just plain old Bromley. My tea selections aren’t as fancy as yours. :)

    Adrienne, Oh, I feel you. That was me a few years ago. Then I upgraded to a hand crank style mixer and, uh, it wasn’t much of an upgrade!6 years ago

  • Julia (Color Me Green): i must be the only girl in the world who doesn’t want a kitchen aid mixer! i’m just fine with a bowl and spoon and my food processor, thanks!6 years ago

  • Starlene: The boy got me my sweet white girl just 5 short months after we started dating (for my birthday. and yes, he’s totally a keeper). I use her all the time. Even when I could do the work faster by hand.

    I think you should call her Rizzo:)6 years ago

  • Katelynn: Maybe I was spoiled, but I grew up with a kitchenaid mixer. My mom has had one since I was 2 (I’m now 23), and I never knew how to make cookies without one. Which made me thrilled when I recieved my Kitchenaid Pro600 mixer for a wedding gift! My mom has had hers for 21 years and it still works like the first day she recieved hers!6 years ago

  • Julia, I bet you have arms just like Michelle Obama’s!

    Starlene, Rizzo is kind of genius.6 years ago

  • Bernie: I have the same one, and i LOVE IT! Mine is named Annabel.6 years ago

  • Alicia Kachmar: I have the pink one too!!! years ago

  • Andrea: Congratulations! I have a grey bowl-lift model and find it indispensable. I recently took a series of cake decorating courses and the thought of whipping all that buttercream without it makes my arm hurt.6 years ago

  • Fran: I have a great kitchen, but no Kitchen-Aid Mixer! I’m not much of a baker – I supposed maybe if I had a Kitchen-Aid I would be inspired. Do you use yours for anything besides baking?6 years ago

  • Betsy: What a blessing the beast is! I have a Sunbeam, not nearly as efficient as the two belt driven motors. Should I ask for one for Christmas? Tough choice, this or the alpaca overcoat in putty?6 years ago

  • Cordelia: Ah! What a wonderful addition to your new family. The pink reminds me of the photos of your bathroom. How Gidget/Funny Face/Umbrellas of Cherbourg of you!6 years ago

  • domestikate: OH MY WORD. That is gorgeous. Jealous!6 years ago

  • Bernie and Alicia, Great minds!

    Andrea, Oh, good point! I look forward to making my first buttercream with it. On deck right now is whipping up some serious egg whites.

    Fran, I haven’t yet. I have found my food processor really indispensible for all sorts of savory tasks, but I know one of the things the KitchenAid’s got going for it is that you can get all sorts of attachments for making pasta, grining meat…

    Betsy, Since you already have a mixer, I’d go with the coat. It’s so nice to have a winter coat you love since you have to wear it every freaking freezing cold morning. Puts a little spring in your (frozen) step.

    Cordelia, You know it! :)

    domestikate, She is a beaut, isn’t she? I feel like I just pulled up to the high school in my new wheels and you are all gathered around oohing and ahhing before we go into homeroom.6 years ago

  • Karen: Congratulations on your new baking “accessory”. I love the pink! I have a plain old white one, but does the job! I do not take it out as much as I should, although it does get a workout during the holidays….. lots of Christmas cookies!6 years ago

  • Hillary: congrats! I love my blue artisan mixer (three years of credit card points because I couldn’t then justify spending that much on myself).

    please share the poundcake recipe – I’ve had such crummy luck with them lately. I love the wholegrain bread recipe.6 years ago

  • Hillary, I’ll be writing about the pound cake recipe next week, so stay tuned!6 years ago

  • Suzy: Oh I’m so jealous! I’ve been PINING for the pink one for years now. Truly. But we got ours on sale and they had only white (but at just $199, I can’t really complain). I too got ours right after we got married. Maybe you are going through a much amplified domestic phase as I did as a newlywed? (Not that you aren’t oh-so-domestic even on a bad day…)6 years ago

  • liskev: Congratulations. You are “one of us” now.
    Every time I see a kitchen aid mixer in the store or in someone else’s kitchen I have fond memories of coming home from school and watching my mom bake and decorate cakes for extra money. She used her trusty white kitchen aid. She used the attachments for everything, grinding meat, kneading dough and making divinity candy. The mixer is now 35 years old and still works. It is the law among the girls in my family that when you get a home of your own you must have a kitchen aid mixer in your kitchen. No other will do. We all chipped in and bought my niece one for her wedding present. Mine is white and I bought the plastic shield attachment. I also reccomend using the mixer for mashed potatoes. Enjoy!!!6 years ago

  • syd: We need the recipe for that beautiful cake…it looks wonderful!
    I have only had my Kitchenaid for a few short years–it’s wonderful, the cheerful bright red color–and I made sure my daughter had one once she graduated from college and had her own home! Everyone who loves to cook and bake should have one–they won’t be sorry.6 years ago

  • Lauren: I freaking love my Kitchenaid Mixer. Moreso because it was my grandmother’s, when my dad was a kid. It still works! Anybody know of good sites that have pictures of old mixers and the history? I’d like to know how old mine really is. I’m guessing 60s.6 years ago

  • Suzy, I AM going through a heightened domestic phase right now, but I think it has more to do with the gray rainy weather outside. I am enjoying being a little homebody, though. :) (Oh, and what a deal you got!)

    liskev, i love that story about your mom! As you and Lauren prove, I guess these babies are really meant to last.

    syd, sorry to disappoint, but that’s a promo pic for kitchenaid and sadly, i didn’t make that pretty cake.6 years ago

  • kim: Can I act as god mother and visit occasionally, buy it birthday presents, and candy when you’re not looking-then when it’s messy give it back to you?6 years ago

  • syd: :(–they picked a wonderful “promo” shot then……..we will have to all come together to attempt to recreate their “photo” cake! It’s been fun hearing about everyone’s mixers…esp the ones that have lasted so long. Thank you.6 years ago

  • Emily O: Congrats on the Mixer!!! And the marriage.

    I look forward to trying this banana bread recipe (sans mixer). The fact that it’s adapted from Cooking Light makes me feel better about the (mostly under-appreciated) gifted subscription I got to this magazine.6 years ago

  • Adventures of Alice: Ohh!!! Love the mixer! My husband and I received a bright blue one as a wedding present. Right after we got married, however, we moved to Scotland, and it has now been sitting, untouched, for the past 3 1/2 years in my parents’ house! I cannot wait to use it when we move back to the States.6 years ago

  • Evon T.: I just saw one on QVC for flex-payments of $45. Now, I can FINALLY buy one! I’m getting the red to match my fabulous Kitchen Aid blender.6 years ago

  • Kare: Congrats on the new addition to your family! 😉 I got an apple green one six or so months ago and it changed my life.

    LOVE the pink.6 years ago

  • Ashley: Wow, I just made this banana bread for my boyfriend and his friends and it was delicious! No one could tell that it was from a “cooking light” magazine. Thanks so much for the great recipe!6 years ago

  • Ashley, It doesn’t taste “Cooking Light-ish” at all, does it? I’m so glad you and the guys liked it. It’s such a classic banana bread — and that’s what I like in my banana bread!6 years ago

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That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.
- Henry David Thoreau