October 19, 2012

The Difference a Day Makes: Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I'm loving the new Baked Elements cookbook.

Divided into different flavor sections, like Banana, Chocolate, Booze, Pumpkin, and Peanut Butter, their recipes are just what I love to bake. Homey but aspirational, comforting but a little bit interesting, almost always yielding great results.

These guys aren't new to me. Their earlier book contains the recipe for my favorite pumpkin whoopee pies and some killer brownies.

There are many recipes I have mentally earmarked in this new book. But I started with the Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Bread.

I'm somewhat obsessed with banana bread these days. My mom said I must be missing something in my diet (sugar? white carb-y goodness?), but I know that isn't the case. But I'm drooling over recipes for Nutella Banana Bread, Chocolate Banana Bread, Tropical Banana Bread...

My friend Jessica told me she wanted this recipe. But the night I made it, I messaged her back and told her I didn't love the recipe, that it was way too peanut buttery at the expense of the poor bananas. I was sad about it. Warm, it tasted overwhelmingly like cooked peanut butter. And not in a great way. It was fine, don't get me wrong. But I was missing the banana. And I was not digging the peanut bits (you use crunchy peanut butter).

I had pretty much rejected the recipe.

Until the next morning.

Did I love the bread the night I made it? No. Did that stop me from eating a rather thick slice for breakfast the next morning anyway? Yea, right.

And you know what? It's a good thing.

Overnight as the bread cooled, the flavors readjusted themselves. The peanut butter tamed itself and the bananas woke up. The balance was nice. And the chocolate chips...well, they did their yummy chocolate chip thing.

The peanut chunks? Still wasn't a huge fan. Next time, I'll make this with smooth peanut butter, much to the dismay of Matt & Renato.

Mmm, peanut butter, banana, chocolate.

Stay tuned for more of these flavors from me. They're exactly what I'm craving these days. And there are chapters in this book on each. Watch out.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Bread (which would just be Peanut Butter Banana Bread if you take my suggestion), adapted slightly from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Ronato Poliafito

1 1/2 c flour, plus 1 tbsp to coat chips
1 c sugar, plus 1 tbsp
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/3 c whole milk
1 c crunchy peanut butter (I'd use smooth next time)
2/3 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan and dust with flour.

Whisk together 1 1/2 c flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.

In another bowl, whisk together bananas, oil, eggs, milk, peanut butter. Mix together remaining tablespoon of flour with chocolate chips in small bowl. Add chips to banana mixture.

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients gently until just combined. Pour batter into pan.

Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Then cool completely on rack.

Serve after cooled completely in big thick slices.

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