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Banana Bran Bread
Bananas, bran cereal, and apricots all contribute healthy fiber to this updated classic. Use very ripe bananas—the skins can be totally brown—for the best banana flavor and the most sweetness. Quick breads have a denser texture than muffins, but it still is important not to stir too much.
Makes 1 loaf (12 to 16 slices)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed, peeled bananas (about 2 large)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 ‑cup high-fiber cereal with natural wheat bran (All Bran is one brand)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
Heat oven to 350°F with oven rack in middle. Lightly spray bottom of a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center of the flour by pushing ingredients out toward sides of bowl.
Combine bananas, butter, sour cream, milk, and eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk.
Pour banana mixture into flour mixture, and stir only until flour is evenly moistened even though batter is not smooth. Stir in cereal and apricots.
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out dry. The bread may begin to pull away from pan sides.
Cool on wire cooling rack 10 minutes. Run a spatula around sides of pan to loosen bread. Place rack over the bread and invert so bread falls onto the rack. Remove pan and turn top side up. Cool before slicing.
Baker’s Note: The bananas can be mashed with a fork or an electric mixer. If the bananas are very ripe, I usually just mash with a fork; they don’t have to be completely smooth.
Secret to Success: I prefer California dried apricots to Mediterranean apricots, but either will do. Use scissors to cut the apricots.
Baking Basics and Beyond by Pat Sinclair
©Surrey Books, 2006