Thursday, September 1, 2011

Banana Nut Bread with Strawberries, Brown Butter, and Bourbon

Hi, friends! Can you believe that it's already September? I can't. On the plus side, since it's the first Thursday of the month, I'm sharing some financial knowledge over at Makeunder My Life. This month's "finance with intention" post is all about creating a budget for your business. The concepts can also be used in creating a personal budget, so please swing by and take a read.

Now for the main event! Monday was all about freezing your excess produce. Today is another tip for stretching your grocery budget and saving overripe fruit from the trash or compost bin.

Bake it into bread! Other options include baking it in a pie or cobbler, making jam, adding to it to a vinaigrette dressing, making smoothies, or cooking it down in a sauce.

A few Fridays ago, we had a couple bananas ready to bite the dust. There were some other almost-finished items sitting around the kitchen: walnuts, buttermilk, strawberries, and bourbon. If you're thinking what I'm thinking, then it's time to bake banana nut bread with strawberries, brown butter, and bourbon!

Not only is this bread a mash-up of two recipes, making it a Cathy-original, but it was my first foray into brown butter. Check one more item off the list in becoming a card-carrying food blogger. Next up, churning my own butter. I kid....or am I??

This recipe is also super easy in that you can prep everything in one bowl. Fewer bowls mean less to clean...woot woot! You're also saving on your water bill, which is a plus.

If you're looking to earn some major brownie points, slice some of this glorious bread for breakfast in bed. Feel free to substitute the glass of milk for a steaming cup of coffee or your favorite brunch beverage.

Your significant other will thank you.

Just be sure to leave a note saying "do not eat" if you bake it the night before and want to take a picture in the morning :)

Banana Nut Bread with Strawberries, Brown Butter, and Bourbon
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Joy the Baker

6 oz (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter, reduced to 4 oz or 1/2 cup of brown butter
2 bananas
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch cloves
pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
3/4 cup diced strawberries (3 good-sized strawberries)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1 strawberry sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease or butter a loaf pan and set aside.

Brown your butter - per Joy the Baker
Basically, you melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. As the butter heats up, it will begin to foam and crackle. Once the crackling stops, the butter will start to brown. Swirl the pan as the butter cooks. When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the butter to a small bowl. This will stop the cooking process and prevent the butter from burning. Set aside to cool.

With a wooden spoon, mash the bananas and cooled brown butter in a large bowl. 
Mix in the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and bourbon.
Add the spices and sprinkle the mixture with the baking soda and salt. Pour in the buttermilk, mixing everything well.
Add the flour, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl while mixing. You don't want to find any surprise pockets of flour.
Last, fold in the diced strawberries and nuts. Try not to over work the mixture or else the bread will turn out dense.
Pour the mixture into the buttered/greased loaf pan. Top with the thinly sliced strawberries.
Bake the bread in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the tester comes out clean.
Cool bread in the pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan once cooled completely and then slice away!
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  1. Ummm yum! And good for you for melding two recipes into one! that takes talent! this looks delicious, I can't wait to try it!

  2. That breakfast-in-bed setup is so pretty... and so is the bread. Lovely presentation and it looks like it tasted good too :)


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