Chow Town

KitchenAid mixers are game-changers for bakers

Classic Banana Bread
Classic Banana Bread Special to The Star

I almost don’t remember life before my KitchenAid mixer.

My mom’s shiny red 41/2-quart mixer was a game changer in our kitchen. I turned out so many batches of cookie dough, delicious cakes and cinnamon roll dough in that mixing bowl. It was a much tidier process than using the handheld mixer.

My problem with the handheld mixer was that I would turn my head and my hands accidentally turned with me, flinging dough and batter everywhere. As much as I loved it, that sweet little bowl couldn’t really keep up with my double batches or me.

The day I bought my very own cobalt blue 6-quart KitchenAid was more exciting than buying my first car. I adored her and she followed me to my original bakery. Double batches are totally possible in a 6-quart. Now we use 20, 30, and 60-quart mixers at the shop to accomplish our mixing.

This is one of my favorite recipes to bake at home. We rarely keep up with our bananas and this is the perfect use for an overripe bunch. I like to use mini loaf pans because they bake quickly and there are always a few loaves to share. You should measure your mashed bananas since their sizes can vary wildly.

Classic Banana Bread

Makes 7 mini loaf pans (61/2-inches-by-31/4-inches)

12 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 cups (about 6-7 medium sized) mashed very ripe bananas

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup buttermilk, well shaken

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (use your spatula paddle attachment if you have one), cream butter and sugars on medium speed until light and well mixed, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Blend in bananas, eggs and vanilla. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Sift flour, salt and baking soda. Add dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Take bowl off mixer and scrape down sides of the bowl and that little pocket at the very bottom of the bowl. Stir in nut and/or chocolate chunks with the spatula.

Spray loaf pans or cupcake tins. If you are using the mini loaf pans, they will not need to be sprayed. Fill pans with batter, coming just over half way up the sides, and bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Bake time will vary depending on the size of your pan. My mini loaf pans bake for 40-43 minutes.

Erin Brown is a pastry chef and proprietor of Dolce Bakery in Prairie Village. Reach her at info@dolcebakes.com.

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