Banana Breads and Mighty Muffins: Plus the Tips to Get Them Just Right!

Quick Breads and Mighty Muffins at WIBW

When you’re in the mood for something sweet, but not too sweet; easy, but not store-bought; and full of the comforts you may remember from your childhood, there is no place like home-made banana bread! Today I’m sharing my favorite tips for any quick breads and including two of my favorite recipes. Try them out just in time for next Wednesday’s National Banana Bread Day!

Tips for Baking Moist Loaves of Quick Bread

  • Don’t over mix!  After adding the flour mixture to the creamed sugar/butter/egg mixture, stir only until the ingredients are moistened.  There will be lumps – just let them be!
  • Cut a sheet of parchment paper the length of each bread pan and place parchment paper into each one, creating a “sling”, with ends hanging down over the long edges of each pan, then spray. (see image below) This helps your bread not stick to the pan and makes it SUPER easy to get out after it’s baked!
  • During the last 10-15 minutes of baking time, check every few minutes to ensure that you don’t overbake your loaves – over baking is never good.  Quick breads are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  If the surface of your loaf is browning too quickly, lay a sheet of foil over the top.
  • If your quick bread loaf has a crack along the top of the bread – don’t worry!  This is often a characteristic of quick breads.  When your bread comes out of the oven, immediately cover it with a sheet of foil and let it cool.  The foil will keep the steam under cover and force the condensation back down into your loaf, ensuring it’s super moist!  (This is also a great thing to do with cakes.)

Parchment Paper Sling

Storing Quick Breads

  • Quick breads are best stored in the fridge, for up to a week.  I find it easy and convenient to bake several loaves at a time, let them cool, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil; place into the freezer for up to 6 months.

 

Banana Bread

  • Don’t have super-ripe black bananas to use for making your banana bread?  You can cheat and use baby food bananas instead.
  • If you’re not ready to make banana bread when your bananas are primed and ready, simply throw them into the freezer for later. I have a large freezer bag on the inside door of my freezer and I just tuck my gooshy, black bananas in there until I need them.
  • And, yes, it’s true: bananas do actually peel easier from the bottom. An added bonus? The strings tend to come off better when bananas are peeled from the bottom, too. Yay!

Glazed Banana BreadGlazed Banana Bread

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup toasted chopped pecans, divided use

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Pinch of kosher salt
3 Tbs. orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a separate bowl, combine flour with baking powder, soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter with cream cheese and sugar until very soft; beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in mashed bananas and vanilla.

Using a spatula, gently fold in dry ingredients and 3/4 cup pecans.

Cut a sheet of parchment paper the length of each bread pan and place parchment paper into each one, creating a “sling”, with ends hanging down over the long edges of each pan. Spray each pan and the parchment paper with non-stick baking spray, then divide batter between them.

Bake, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted at center comes out clean.

While bread is baking prepare glaze. In a bowl, whisk all ingredients until smooth; pour over hot bread. Cover bread pans with foil and let cool completely.

When bread is cool, use a knife to loosen bread from ends of each pan, then use parchment paper “slings”to remove each loaf from pan.

This bread freezes well. Wrap in plastic wrap, then in heavy-duty foil to freeze.  Will keep in freezer for up to 6 months if wrapped tightly.

Cherry-Pecan Banana Muffins

Cherry-Pecan Banana Muffins

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup mashed super-ripe bananas (the blacker and mushier, the better), usually 3-4 medium bananas worth
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained well, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream sugar with butter until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time and beat well. Add bananas and vanilla and beat again, making sure batter is well combined. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, pecans and cherries. Using a spatula or large spoon, gently fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture, just until ingredients are barely combined. Don’t over mix!

Divide batter between 12 well-greased muffin tin cups and bake, uncovered, for approx. 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and spring back to the touch on top. Remove from oven and place muffin tin onto a cooling rack. Immediately cover muffins with a sheet of foil and let cool completely. Remove from muffin tin and store in an air tight container.

Makes 12 fat muffins

Now You’re Cookin’,
Chef Alli

 

**This recipe was featured as part of Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen on  WIBW 13 News, February 2016. Special thanks to the farmers and ranchers of the Kansas Farm Bureau for making this segment possible!

 

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