Gluten-Free Banana Bread

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Looking for a moist and delicious banana bread that happens to be free of gluten? Look no further. Yet another gem from my favorite GF cookbook. I love to grab a slice or two for breakfast and have another with my afternoon cup of coffee.

The best bananas are black bananas. For maximum flavor, be sure to use very ripe, heavily speckled (or even black) bananas. If you like, you can freeze overly ripe bananas, one at a time, and save them expressly for use in this recipe. Thawed frozen bananas will release their liquid without the need for microwaving, so you can skip that step and put them directly into the fine-mesh strainer, then continue as directed.

In case you’re wondering about the 3rd step: The liquid released from the bananas that is then cooked down acts as an intensely flavored syrup that packs a punch of banana flavor without adding extra watery liquid that would turn out a mushy loaf.

from: The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook
makes: 1 loaf

9 1/2 ounces (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) gluten-free flour blend
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 large very ripe bananas (about 1 3/4 pounds) I used 6 medium bananas for the same weight
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar

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Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 or 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Whisk flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum together in a large bowl.

Microwave bananas in a separate bowl, covered, until they have softened and released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl and let drain, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes. (you should have anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid).

Transfer the banana juice to a medium saucepan and cook over medium high heat until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes. Measure 1/4 cup of the reduced banana syrup and add to bowl with the bananas. Mash with a potato masher or fork until mostly smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.

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Using a rubber spatula, stir banana mixture into flour mixture until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Gently fold in walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.

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Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55-75 minutes. Let bread cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving. Banana bread is best eaten the day it is baked, but bread can be cooled, immediately wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. To serve, warm in a 300 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

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