My love-affair with the South is multi-fold and I can wax poetic for hours putting most normal folks to sleep, but if I had to pick my three favorite things, it would be what I refer to as the Three B’s: bluegrass, barbecue and bourbon. And if ever I could combine all three, it would be pure heaven. It’s very hard to me to resist bourbon in food as well. The famous tipsy-cakes is probably what started the love-affair and the Jack Daniel’s ice cream at this place didn’t help the matters. I’ve sampled quite a few bourbons in the past, and have finally found my favorite, but I’m always on the lookout for new, small-batch-made bourbon.
I’m not sure where the idea of putting bourbon into banana bread came from, but I’m glad I did it – the bread gave off a deep caramel aroma and it accentuated the sweetness of the banana. In my now-predicable move, I substituted cranberries for walnuts as I greatly prefer more tart to my quick-breads and because I have my cranberry supply to go through.
I suggest pouring out a slightly more generous portion of bourbon than the recipe calls for – it’s quite possible, if not probable, that you might want to have a taste prior to adding the bourbon to the batter, you know, to make sure it hasn’t gone bad or anything. Quality control is so important nowadays.
UPDATE: Kris in the comment section, very accurately pointed out to me that JD is not bourbon but is sour mash whiskey – a very good point indeed. For those of you looking for a quick primer on the difference, I found one here!
Bourbon-spiked Banana Bread
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tsp bourbon
1/2 cup cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream, bourbon and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nuts, and pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.