Sunday, January 5, 2014

Brown Butter Blueberry Cornmeal Banana Bread

Say the recipe name five times fast. I dare you.

Sure, it could just say ‘Banana Bread’…but, can you imagine leaving any one of the other ingredients out of the recipe name? It’s like Banana Bread, but on crack. But somehow Crack Banana Bread just didn’t have the right ring to it. Somehow.

Instead of regular old butter, we brown the butter in a saucepan first to become nutty and delicious and just downright seductive.
Dear Brown Butter: Is it acceptable to dab you on my wrists and neck like perfume?

Instead of just flour, we kick up the flavor and the texture by adding an earthy crunch of cornmeal.
Dear Cornmeal: I have a crush on you. You make me want to eat fresh tortillas every day.

Instead of only sweet ripe banana, we add juicy summer Maine blueberries to the fruit roster. Because they’re in the freezer and are practically crying out to be used and brighten the spirits of a heavy winter chill.
Dear Maine Blueberries: You win. Forever.

But I digress to from my love letters to food ingredients. Let’s get down to it.

By now you are armed with not one, not two, but three rockin blueberry bread recipes that are fit to please any guest and at any time of year. That’s badass. And this recipe is unabashedly the badass-est (woah). 
All of the elements come together in a sweet-enough, banana, blueberry, crunchy, moist-but-not-too-moist, perfect crumb bite. Having a whole 9x13 pan of it is nothing short of dangerous. And by dangerous I mean awesome.

Think Batman – dangerously awesome.

Batman Brown Butter Blueberry Cornmeal Banana Bread…?

We win. Forever.

Also, Note to Self:  This is the risk of taking a food photo shoot on a very snowy balcony railing.

Note to Self #2:  The consequence of said risk = out-of-the-oven banana bread dusted with freshly fallen Maine powder.  An amazing unexpected reward.

Brown Butter Blueberry Cornmeal Banana Bread

Adapted from Joy the Baker


7 ounces unsalted butter, melted and browned to just over 1/2 cup of butter
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup corn meal
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain yogurt (any fat content) or buttermilk
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3-4 medium bananas)
Heaping 1 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan and set aside. (You could also consider doing two bread loaf pans)

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts. When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown. Swirl the pan as the butter cooks. When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer the butter to a small bowl. Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and yogurt or buttermilk. Whisk in the mashed bananas. When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients. Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to reveal any hidden pockets of flour. Fold in the blueberries. Fold together ingredients, but try not to over stir.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes.

Bread will last 4 days, well wrapped at room temperature. It also freezes well.

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