February 21, 2013

Pin It Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread - Cook the Books

Taken From the Joy the Baker Cookbook
I'm a big fan of banana bread, but this one did not do it for me.  That said, I will take most of the credit here and blame it on user error.  I actually tried to make this on two different occasions and wasn't pleased with the way either of them turned out. Sad face.

My first attempt was at my parent's house.  I baked the banana bread in a glass loaf pan using a convection oven. I baked it at 325 for 50 minutes.  I inserted a toothpick at 50 minutes and it came out clean, BUT after cooling and turning out the banana bread, I noticed it started to sag in the middle.  When I cut into it, it was totally raw in the center!  But how did the toothpick come out clean if I poked it in the raw middle?! Who knows. To try and salvage it, my mom sliced it up and put it back in the oven on a pie plate to cook a little longer.  It ended up cooking through and tasting pretty good, but was not pretty to look at.
The beginning stages of the sagging banana bread.
Sad and saggy but still tasted good.
My second attempt was in my oven at 350. I tested it at 45 minutes and my toothpick came out gooey.  I tested it every 5 minutes after that and didn't have a clean pick until baking it for an hour and 5 minutes.  I looked ok, although a little brown on top.  When I cut into it the next day I was pretty disappointed. The outsides edges were dry and crusty and the inside was not moist and fluffy like I wanted. Boo.
I blame my sub-par second attempt on my pan.  Non-stick baking pans are my nemesis; they ruin everything! They over-bake things that are in direct contact with the sides of the pan while under-cooking the middles. I've had this same problem with my non-stick baking sheets and now refuse to use them for cookies (or anything really).  I definitely need to invest in a glass loaf pan and hope that that, in combination with a regular oven at 350 would yield better results.

If I haven't totally discouraged you with my failed attempts, below are the ingredients and directions for Joy's banana bread.  Hope you have better luck!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I left these out)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a stand mixer beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute between each addition. Stop mixer, scrape down the sides, and add bananas, lemon juice and bourbon. Beat until well incorporated.

Add flour mixture all at once and beat on low until almost incorporated. Add chocolate chips (and walnuts) and mix by hand the rest of the way with a spatula. Spoon mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 20 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack.

Good luck and let me know if/how you get better results!

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