Ever roasted a banana?

Try it for extra flavor in your banana bread

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I tried something totally new last week with banana nut bread. I roasted the bananas before mixing them into the batter.

Yes, roasted. In the peel.

As many banana bread recipes as I have tried over the years, this Better Homes and Gardens version was a first for me.

I love the taste of roasted fruits and vegetables and couldn’t wait to try this recipe and the process of roasting the bananas.

One loaf of bread calls for five bananas, and that’s a lot for a loaf of banana bread.

The unpeeled bananas are pricked with a fork before going into the oven (350 degrees) for 15 minutes.

It doesn’t take long before the aroma of roasting bananas fills the kitchen as the peels turn black. They resemble chocolate-covered bananas at the end of the roasting time.

I let the bananas cool for a little bit before I started assembling the bread. My bananas were large, and it only took four to fill the 1 1/2 cups needed.

The recipe ingredients are similar to other breads I have tried, with the addition of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.

Reggie and I were very eager to try this bread that smelled so good as it baked, but we wrapped it in foil as directed in the recipe and waited until the next day to cut it.

It was worth the wait! The recipe is good — very good. The banana flavor is deeper and maybe a little sweeter than in my other recipes. The bread is dense and filling and a lovely change with the addition of the spices.

One advantage of this recipe: There’s no need to wait for the bananas to be very ripe before making the bread because the roasting intensifies the flavor and leaves the banana the same soft texture you would expect from a very ripe or overripe banana. That being said, I still wouldn’t choose green bananas for this recipe.

I will absolutely make this Better Homes and Gardens recipe again and might even add in some chocolate chips for extra goodness. And I’m thinking the next time I make my other banana bread recipes, I might try roasting the bananas!

Best Banana Bread

5 bananas (unpeeled)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter (I used butter)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15-by-10-inch baking pan with foil. Arrange bananas in the pan. Prick banana skins with the tines of a fork at 1 inch intervals. Bake for 15 minutes. (The banana peels will turn dark brown or black.) Cool bananas on baking pan.

Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9-by-5-inch or two 7 1/2-by-by-3 1/2-inch loaf pans. I made one larger loaf rather than two smaller loaves.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger. Using the back of a spoon, make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together eggs, sugar and oil; set aside.

Use a small sharp knife to split the banana peels. Measure 1 1/2 cups of the roasted bananas (gently press the roasted bananas into measuring cups). Stir into egg mixture. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes for the 9-by-5-inch pan or 45 to 55 minutes for the two smaller pans or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center(s) comes out clean. (When you remove the pick, a few crumbs may be clinging to it, but there should not be any unbaked batter on the pick.) If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.

If using one large pan, check the brownness of the top after 40 minutes of baking. If using two smaller pans, check after 30 minutes baking. If the top is quite brown, cover each pan with foil using a piece of foil large enough to completely cover the top; using hot pads to protect your hands, carefully press the foil lightly against the pan’s edges.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. (The quick bread’s texture will be more evenly moist and less crumbly after standing.)

Better Homes & Gardens