I’m getting to know my new kitchen space. New oven (it’s a KitchenAid… it’s amazing), new light, new muscle memory from cracked eggshell to sink, new drawers for the whisks and spatulas to live and which dang drawer is it!? You know the drill. Change and newness. When I’m getting to know a new kitchen I like to make a supremely familiar recipe. Something that I barely need a recipe to pull together. Something that I know backwards and forwards from batter consistency to oven smell.
It’s banana bread. It’s always banana bread. A house isn’t a home without it.
A few years ago I made Brown Butter Banana Bread when I first moved to the French Quarter. The bread in various renditions has become a tradition that I’ll make long into my days in this new kitchen space.
We start with neglected (and respected) bananas, a heavy skillet, and butter to brown.
Two things you should know. 1. This is a one-skillet recipe. We’re going to melt and brown the butter in the skillet and whisk the rest of the ingredients in layers, all in this one dang skillet. Stovetop to oven. 2. A few months ago I thought someone was trying to break into my house (they weren’t), so I stood behind my front door with this skillet in my head ready to bonk an intruder in the head. That was unnecessary, but still…. how’s that for versatility?
I used Muscovado Sugar for this bread. It’s extra dark, moist, and molasses-y. It brings a lot of depth to the bread. If you don’t happen to have Muscovado, dark brown sugar will also be great.
Since we’re using a super dark brown sugar, and since I have a hunk of fresh ginger sitting in my fruit bowl staring me in the face, I thought it might be fun to play with a Dark and Stormy concept. Excuse to unpack the dark rum? Obviously.
Browned butter meets very dark brown sugar.
After the butter and sugar are whisked together, the mixture will still be greasy. The butter won’t be completely absorbed into the sugar. They’ll act like they don’t know how to get along until the eggs are whisked into the mixture. Eggs will make a glossy, smooth, refined butter mixture.
Since we’re going dark with the Muscovado sugar, we’ll add a little stormy with fresh ginger. Splash of vanilla extra and a glug of dark rum.
Mashed ripe bananas, fresh ginger, plus ground spices adding moisture and flavor and such good smells!
At this point I’m really happy this is a one-skillet recipe and I don’t need to bother with a bowl for dry ingredients. At this point I also whisk some of the flour out of the skillet and onto the counter. I think that’s just part of the deal.
It’s ok. We’re still in business.
Scrape the edges of the bowl down and we’re ready for the oven.
It’s familiar and new! Like a new house with all my old stuff in it. The Muscovado and ginger gives this bread a depth of sweetness and hint of spice, bending it more towards a spice cake…. in a really good way. Glaze it or sugar the top to add some presentation flair, or impatiently cut into it because your coffee is getting cold.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup lightly packed muscovado brown sugar (or dark brown sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt butter in an 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Melt until the crackling subsides and the butter begins to brown. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Whisk until thoroughly combined. The mixture may seem broken as the butter won't completely absorb into the sugar just yet. Allow mixture to stand and cool for about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. The mixture will begin to emulsify, be glossy and no longer greasy. Whisk in the vanilla and rum. Add the mashed bananas, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger and stir to combine.
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir carefully until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and spread the batter evenly across the pan.
- Place in the oven and bake for 18-25 minutes until mixture is dry on top, but still slightly soft in the center. I like to slightly under-bake this cake.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you'd like and enjoy warm.