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O + Gs Cardamom Banana Bread

1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for muffin cups
1/2 cup (about 125 ml) sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 very ripe bananas (spotted and black a must)
1 cup (200 g) packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups (170 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
Handful of crushed walnut pieces (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Grease 10 standard muffin cups with butter. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and baking soda and set aside. It will puff up. Peel the bananas, put them in a glass bowl, and put in the microwave for 5 minutes. This will allow them to release their liquid. Transfer the bananas to a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl and allow to drain, stirring gently. You should have 1/4 to 1/2 cup (30 to 60 ml) liquid. Pour the liquid into a small saucepan and place over medium heat until reduced by half. Add the liquid back to the bananas and gently crush the bananas by hand. Do not liquefy or puree the bananas. In a stand mixer, or in a bowl with a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla, mix well, and then scrape down the sides of the bowl, making sure the mixture is smooth. Add the fluffy sour cream and mix well. The same for the bananas. In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and spices. Fold these dry ingredients into the wet mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one two-thirds full. Top each muffin generously with the walnut pieces (untoasted, or they will be burned by the time the muffins are cooked). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool on a rack in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out. Makes 1 (10-inch/25-cm) Bundt cake For an amazing puddinglike banana cake, substitute cake flour for the all-purpose flour. Add 1 cup (170 g) finely chopped Valrhona dark chocolate (Manjari is a good choice with fruity things) to the dry ingredients. Omit the walnuts. Bake the batter in a buttered 10-inch (25-cm) Bundt pan (or a buttered 11-to 12-inch/ 28-to 30-cm springform pan) in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack. This cake tastes best not long from the oven. Serve within 1 to 2 hours of baking. Just before you are ready to serve the cake, make the chocolate glaze. Place 4 ounces (115 g) dark Valrhona chocolate (70 percent cacao), chopped, in a bowl. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream (35 percent butterfat) to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for a few seconds, then stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted. Add 6 tablespoons (85 g) room-temperature unsalted butter, cubed, right away and stir until completely melted. Pour the warm chocolate glaze over the cake just before serving. Top with toasted crushed pecans. Serve with Sanka Ice Cream . Using unripened bananas for banana bread is a big no-no. As bananas ripen, their starch converts to sugar quickly. A black, spotty banana has more than double the amount of fructose of its yellow brother. Also, do not mash the bananas so finely they liquefy. If you do, the muffins will take forever to bake and will be too crisp. Freshly grind the cardamom and cinnamon in a spice grinder. The difference in taste is phenomenal. As with most cake or cookie recipes, have the eggs, butter, sour cream, and any other liquids at the same temperature to ensure better emulsion.

Source: www.epicurious.com