182: Banana Bread with Dates and Pecans

[Second review at end of post]

I decided to make a new banana bread recipe to take with me to share with my friends in St. Louis when we went there for a weekend. This recipe actually came from the Williams-Sonoma Bride and Groom Cookbook, a wedding gift, which was fitting since we were headed to a wedding ourselves.

Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups mashed very ripe banana
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates (which I didn’t have)

Grease an 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pan. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to beat the butter with the sugar and lemon zest until soft and creamy. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Repeat, adding remaining flour in 2 batches. Mix in eggs and mashed banana until well blended. Gently fold in pecans and dates. Pour into loaf pan and smooth top. Bake at 350F until toothpick in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a wire rack.

*****

I can’t remember if I tried mixing in the flour in batches, but I do remember that I had trouble mixing in the flour. I thought it was a bad idea to try mixing the flour into the butter with a wooden spoon. It simply didn’t come together very well without the eggs or banana, and I’m not sure what the advantage would be of mixing the ingredients together in that order. Other than that, the batter came together just fine.

This was good. I’m not sure how this ingredient list compares to my usual banana bread recipe, and I can’t check right now. I think that the addition of lemon zest to the batter was a nice touch, as it added a brightness to the flavor. I wish I had dates to add to it because the lemon zest would have complemented them.

Banana Bread with Dates and Pecans

I would think about making made this recipe again (see below). It makes a smaller loaf than I usually make, which is good, and it had a good flavor. I would mix together the ingredients in the usual order (mix together all wet ingredients, then add all dry ingredients) just because it’s easier to mix that way. I’d also make a point of adding dates to it.

{10/24/2011} I made this bread again last night, this time using dates like I wish I had the first time. I mixed together the wet ingredients (including sugar, lemon zest, and bananas), added the flour mixture to it in batches, and folded in dates and pecans. This method ensured the batter came together smoothly. The loaf baked 55 minutes in my finicky oven. The lemon zest gives this bread a nice brightness and complements the dates nicely. It’s been a while since I’ve had banana bread, but I feel like this bread isn’t very banana-y since the dates and lemon zest distract from the banana in the batter.
I still think this bread is good – it’s still moist and delicious. However, I feel like the dates and pecans make it a special-occasion banana bread, and not an everyday one.

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