I've said this before, but our office bake-offs are definitely one of the highlights of my job. However, I realized last night, amidst the panic of discovering my bananas weren't quite brown enough or soft enough for awesome banana bread, that I don't enjoy baking for competitions. I spend time in the kitchen for pleasure, to cook (or bake) what I want, when I want. No more bake-offs for me, but I'll gladly have you over for dinner anytime.
I didn't win the bake-off, but I haven't lost faith in my go-to banana bread. I tried out a new, totally optional, crumble topping to up the anti for the competition - definitely a winner in my mind.
BANANA BREAD (WITH AN OPTIONAL CRUMB TOPPING) // makes one loaf pan
Preheat oven to 350.
2 bananas, ripe*
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips/nuts/etc. (optional)
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cold butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
*Note: If you don't have ripe bananas, be patient - truly ripe bananas make the BEST banana bread. If you're impatient, simply pop your bananas onto a tin-foil lined baking sheet, and roast in a 300 degree oven for 1 hour. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before handling.
What to do:
In a large bowl, smush the ripe bananas.
Add eggs and whisk well.
Continue to add the sugar and oil, mix well.
Add flour and baking soda and stir to combine.
Combine the crumble ingredients in a small bowl, using your fingers to work it all together.
Pour batter into a parchment lined loaf pan and sprinkle with topping.
Bake for 35-45 minutes (check at 30) until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Resist the urge to eat the bread while its hot, allowing it to cool completely will let all the flavour soak in.