Friday, July 29, 2011

Brown Butter Banana Strawberry Bread

We were served this wonderfully tasty bread during our weekend in Maine last month, by one of Eliza's friends, Madeleine.  Madeleine has her own food blog, Kitchen in the Yard, which I intend to visit often over the next little while, as everything she made for us in Maine was more than tasty (including her latest post of grilled honey peaches with honey marscapone). Madeleine had gotten this recipe off of the Joy the Baker blog. I didn't hunt back far enough to see if Joy the Baker had taken it from some other blog. But apparently, there is no need for cookbooks anymore...

I've been meaning to make this bread for awhile, but haven't managed to get the combination of having both overripe bananas and strawberries in the house all at the same time, until this week. Somehow the strawberries just seem to disappear before the bananas get anywhere near ripe... In any case, I finally got a chance to quickly whip this together this morning. And Jerome informed me as I woke up that Logan had scarfed some down for breakfast... not my first choice for his breakfast, but I guess it won't kill him... and I suggested that Jerome perhaps not give him the sugary crumble topping (which is really the best part! No wonder why he liked it so much).
6 oz (1/2 lb.) butter, melted and browned to just over 1/2 C of butter
2 C all-purpose flour (I used whole-wheat)
3/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 C plain yogurt (any fat content) or buttermilk
1 1/4 C mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
1/2 C diced strawberries, plus a couple of strawberries very thinly sliced, for topping

Crumb topping:
3 tbsp. cold butter
1/4 C flour (again, I used whole-wheat)
1/3 C brown sugar

Madeleine suggested that she would make extra crumble topping the next time she made it.  Which sounded delicious to me, as the topping was excellent.  But with Jerome's diabetes, I didn't want to push it, so I stuck to her original amounts.

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

2.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts.  When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Swirl the pan as the butter cooks.  When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer to a small bowl.  Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning.  Set aside to cool. (Place it in the refrigerator to cool it more quickly).

3.  Whisk together eggs, vanilla extract and yogurt or buttermilk.  Whisk in the mashed bananas.  When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.

4.  Mix in the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Fold in the diced strawberries, being careful not to overstir.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.

5.  Mix together the butter, flour and brown sugar for the crumb topping.  Place on top of the bread batter, slightly pushing down with fingers.  Top with thinly sliced strawberries.

6.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.  Remove from oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Bread will last 4 days, well wrapped at room temperature.  This loaf also freezes well.

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