Sunday, April 15, 2012

Banana Rum Bread

Thank you to King Arthur Flour ("KAF") for sending me their Boyajian Natural Rum Flavor to try – it’s delicious! - and for kindly sponsoring a giveaway on my blog.*  Like many home bakers, I'm a big fan of KAF and believe they've done so much to keep American home baking traditions alive, relevant and fun. If you are a novice or the most advanced baker, they have something for you - including a wealth of free recipes on their site. And, personally, I find it hard to resist all the cool specialty ingredients and tools for my home kitchen.

This Banana Rum Bread started with a recipe from Joy of Cooking that I’ve been making for my family forever. I had to go back to the original recipe to see how much I changed it over the years – significantly! I’ve made many versions of it, some of which I will post at a later date, and this one is the most sophisticated. Funny to use banana bread and sophisticated in the same sentence, because it is such a simple, baking repertoire staple. But, the natural rum flavor takes it to a new level.

I encourage you to follow the directions. I try and not be too bossy, but this is a dry batter (pre-bananas). You need ALL the bananas called for and you need to sift the flour mixture. You just do. You can go with the lesser or greater amount of rum flavor. I used 3 teaspoons - that's a lot, but I like how the rum stands up to the banana.

I use these bake-and-serve loaf pans quite a bit for home and work. Makes it so easy to slip a loaf in a cello bag or wrap one in waxed paper and tie with a pretty ribbon or twine for gift giving. Also, you can freeze and rewarm in these (a nice thing to note on a gift card as well). I like to double or triple a recipe, keep a bread or two for home, freeze some and/or give away to friends and neighbors. Why? Because part of the fun of baking is sharing!

King Arthur Giveaway:

King Arthur is generously sending one lucky baker a set of bake-and-serve quick bread loaf pans, a bottle of Boyajian Natural Rum Flavor and a coupon for a bag of King Arthur flour (redeemable at your local grocer).

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me all about YOUR banana bread recipe or one you especially enjoy. You know how much I love hearing about your recipes and what you like! 

A winner will be chosen by random using on Sunday, April 22nd and announced here on the blog. I will name the winner in the comments section below and he/she will have until Wednesday, April 25th at 5pm EST to contact me at with a *U.S.* mailing address. As in the past, if you don’t contact me, I will pick a second winner using

Warm Banana Rum Bread. Yum.

*Note about this post:
Recently, KAF contacted me about using their products in my home baking recipes which I talk about on my blog. As many of you know, I use KAF commercial flours exclusively for Sweet & Simple. KAF and I agreed on a few recipes for me to try with their products. For this recipe, KAF sent me a bottle of Boyajian Natural Rum Flavor as well as a set of bake-and-give quick bread loaf pans. I was not compensated monetarily, told what to write or asked to give a specific product review. Of course, as an overzealous home baker, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to use new products at home for fun! So, I've definitely been compensated in the happy department.

Banana Rum Bread 
4 - 3/4lb/12 oz Loaves
Preheat oven to 350° 

Set aside on a sheet pan, 4 bake-and-give quick bread loaf pans
Have all ingredients at room temperature

2-3/4 cups/370 grams/13 ounces King Arthur unbleached all-purpose white flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

11 tablespoons/5-1/2 ounces/155 grams unsalted butter
1-1/3 cups/266 grams/9 oz sugar
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2-3 teaspoons Boyajian Natural Rum Flavor

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2-1/2 cups/500 grams/1 lb 2 ounces very ripe bananas (mashed)
4-5 small bananas

4 teaspoons sugar for sprinkling on breads (optional but very pretty)

Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder, then sift mixture and set aside.

In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, starting on low speed, beat the butter and sugar until combined. Switch the mixer to medium-high speed and beat until light and fluffy.

Scrape down sides of work bowl. With mixer set to low, add eggs in a slow, steady stream and beat until just combined. Scrape down sides of bowl, then turn mixer to medium-high and beat until well combined and light and fluffy again.

Add extracts and beat to combine.

Add the flour mixture all at once and beat on low speed until just combined. Mixture will look dry for a batter. Do not over mix.

Add mashed bananas all at once and beat for a few seconds only. Remove work bowl from mixer and finish folding in the bananas with a spatula.

Evenly divide the batter between the bake-and-serve loaf pans (keep them on the sheet pan for baking). If desired, sprinkle one teaspoon of granulated sugar over the top of each loaf pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 30 minutes using bake-and-serve loaf pans.  Remove breads to a wire rack and let breads cool completely before wrapping or freezing. If you like, serve Banana Rum Bread warm - you won't be sorry!

A sprinkle of sugar... a simple finish for a simple bread.