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Milk Street: The New Home Cooking

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Cardamom makes for a not-so-common banana bread.

Brown Butter-Cardamom Banana Bread

1 hour 15 minutes 25 minutes active

Banana bread is one of the most common baked goods made at home, and most of them taste just that — common. We wanted a revved-up recipe that would produce flavorful results without additional effort. So we paired one of banana’s most complementary spices – cardamom – with nutty browned butter. Blooming the cardamom in hot butter draws out the spice’s aromas, producing a more complex flavor in the finished bread. We found we needed two leaveners. Baking powder alone gave the bread lift but turned out a pale loaf. Baking soda resulted in a well-browned top but a dense crumb. Combining the two was perfect. Measuring the bananas in a 1-cup dry measuring cup was important; the difference in moisture between 4 small and 4 large bananas could throw off the balance of the ingredients. While we preferred the deeper flavor of dark brown sugar here, light brown works just as well. Sprinkling granulated sugar over the top of the loaf just before baking created a crisp, brown crust that we loved. 

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