Brown Butter Bourbon Banana Bread
MUSIC PAIRING: The Shins, Port of Morrow
B to the 5th power. All my favorite Bs combined in one thing (yes, that includes brown because I like to be that in the summer). Unless, of course, you consider my main B, Mary, from back in the day. Holla, ho! That’s a different kind of B, though. Wait, what? You’re confused? Ok, let’s stick with the banana bread.
Seriously dudes, WHO in the WORLD doesn’t want brown butter drowning everything that they eat? I feel so sad for the poor souls who don’t know what heavenly heights brown butter elevates things to. Sweet Jesus, please take those souls now lest they live a brown butterless life.
Let’s be clear, I like banana bread. Like. This recipe makes me LOVE banana bread. I most definitely think it could use way more bourbon, like every other thing in life, but I always make recipes exactly as written the first time around. Hello people, that’s culinary 101. Well, balls. I’m lying to you. I used four bananas in this instead of three because, well, I had four overly ripe bananas to use. 4 bananas + 1 recipe calling for 3 bananas = 5 – the stray banana = 4 but really 3. Have I gotten you good and distracted from my lie yet?
This bread is thick and dense, just how I like it. It’s not fluffy and cakey which are not the descriptors I want to use when it comes to banana bread. We all have our preferences and those are mine. I must say that I do like the addition of the chopped, sauteed bananas instead of just mashed. Mine sank but who cares? When you shove a whole piece in your mouth like I do, it doesn’t matter whether the bananas are on the bottom, top or side.
I want to talk seriously for a moment about brown butter. I know it feels like a scary thing to make because honestly, it can burn to oblivion in a second. For the most part though, it’s really easy. What you’re doing in browning butter is essentially cooking the milk solids and salt particles. You’re also cooking out any excess water so the flavors you’re creating are much deeper, richer and nuttier than what butter presents in its regular form. We’re making butter even tastier! I KNOW, it’s like we all just won the lottery. Here’s a great step-by-step tutorial on browning butter that will hopefully build your confidence and get you making this gloriousness (and this banana bread!) all the time.
Why The Shins? I was in the mood for them, no other reason. Yes, even I have days where not every single thing has meaning attached to it. Shocking, I know.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 4 very ripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon, brown sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans (I left these out because I forgot them, whoops!)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Grease only the bottom of a standard size loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Cook until it begins to brown, but not burn; it will smell nutty and fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- Peel and dice one banana. Mash the remaining two bananas in a small bowl; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar in a small skillet over medium heat until it begins to melt and turn golden. Add diced banana pieces and sauté until well coated and caramelized. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Beat eggs on medium speed in a stand mixer (I used a hand mixer and it was just fine). Add the remaining brown sugar and beat until foamy and combined. Add the mashed bananas, cooled browned butter, vanilla and bourbon; beat until mixed well. Scrape down sides of bowl again with rubber spatula. On low speed, pour in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix until just blended. Pour in 1/3 of buttermilk and beat until just blended. Repeat this process with remaining flour and buttermilk. Fold in pecans and caramelized banana pieces. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.