My banana bread recipe is important to me for many reasons, but the primary source of my pride resides in the simple fact that this was the recipe that compelled me to become a gluten-free baker. It sounds silly in retrospect, but in truth, after I found success in creating something so delicious when everything that came before fell short, I felt hope rise up within me that maybe, just maybe, life was going to be beautiful once again.
This bread is divine right out of the oven with melted butter, supreme when toasted with a little butter and honey, and sinful with cream cheese icing.
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven.
Arrange the bananas in a row on the prepared baking sheet. Using a paring knife, pierce the top of each banana six times. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the skin of the bananas is black and bulging, with juices oozing from the vents you created prior to roasting.
Remove from the oven and let the bananas cool completely on the pan. To remove the insides, have a medium bowl ready. Take one of the roasted bananas, hold it over the bowl and begin peeling the roasted skin. The flesh of the banana should fall out seamlessly. Run your fingers along the interior of the skins, as you would a squeegee down a windowpane, to extract the caramelized juices. Mash the bananas with a fork or a potato masher until no large clumps are visible. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and mix on low speed to blend. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until blended. Add the eggs and mix on medium speed until smooth. Reduce the speed to low, immediately add the buttermilk, and gradually bring the mixer up to high speed until the batter is light and fluffy, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the banana pulp, vanilla, and pecans. Stir to blend. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the loaf onto a wire rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing if serving warm; allow to cool completely if icing.
To store, wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
© 2010 All rights reserved. Published by Chronicle Books.