Friday, August 21, 2009

Post-Grad Gourmet: Banana-Orange Bread

This recipe came about mostly by accident. I had some ripe bananas that I stuck in the freezer to use in banana bread, and after thawing them, I found out I was a cup short for the recipe. I had already mixed the butter and sugar at this point, so there was no turning back. Fortunately, I spied a can of mandarin oranges I had bought for Cole slaw, which reminded me of the banana orange shakes my mom made for my sister and me, and this recipe was born.

The wheat flour makes this recipe healthier than traditional banana bread, and it is still moist and flavorful. After baking, my whole house smelled like banana bread. :)

First, you'll need to assemble your hardware:

9x5 inch bread pan
Two mixing bowls
A whisk
A spatula
Parchment paper (or tinfoil)

As for your software:

2 cups wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (light is fine, too)
1 1/2 to 2 cups mushy, rip bananas (about three bananas)
6 oz. can mandarin oranges
1/2 cup raisins or walnuts (optional)

Executing the code:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your bread pan with tin foil or parchment paper--this makes it a lot easier to get the bread out later. Set aside.

2. In your first mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

3. Strain your oranges in a colander. You can discard the juice. In the second bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar and eggs. Add the bananas and oranges and mix until thoroughly combined. The orange slices will break up as you mix them, but big chunks are okay (and delicious).

4. Add in your flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until wet. Using a spatula instead of a spoon makes this easier--if you mix too much, the bread will come out hard. Gently fold in the raisins or walnuts and pour the mixture into your pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes--you may need to cook for a little longer or a little less. A butter knife stuck in the middle should come out clean when it is ready.

5. Let the bread cool completely before you slice it. Seriously. Your kitchen will smell amazing right now, but you need to wait. After 10-15 minutes, pop the bread out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack (or, you know, a plate). When it is fully cool, slice it in thick 1 inch slices and serve with butter or margarine. I like toasting the slices for breakfast. Yum! Serves 12.

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