STREUSEL-CRUSTED BANANA POPPY SEED BREAD

Banana bread is the little black dress of baking. The possibilities for accentuating it are limitless. You probably wonder if I make banana bread once a week, and I think I do. It has to do with the necessity of not tossing the last two brown bananas and turning it into an efficient warm loaf of comfort that can be eaten anytime. And it feels magical to get something so delicious so easily out of two pieces of perishing fruit.

"This bread is especially great with soft cream cheese--full-fat Philadelphia, thank you."

Notes: Butter is unsalted. Flour is unbleached.


Streusel-Crusted Banana Poppy Seed Bread

Ingredients: 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 scant cup sugar, 2 eggs at room temperature, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 overripe bananas-mashed, 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. poppy seeds, pinch of salt. Streusel: 3 tbsp. soft butter, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 sugar, 1 tbsp. almond flour.

Makes 1 standard loaf.


1. Preheat oven to 350*, grease and line a standard loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and combine well. Stir in the bananas.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds and salt. Add to the wet ingredients. Batter will be thick. Pour into loaf pan.

4. Make the streusel: fork together butter, flour, sugar and almond flour until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.

5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove to cool.

Tip: Serve with cream cheese.


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