Wednesday, February 5, 2014

His and Her Wonderful Wednesday - Banana Bread Taste Test

We love making new recipes for dinner, trying new baked good items, knitting and sewing fun projects, and testing out new decorating ideas at home. With all of that going on, we decided to join in the fun over at Kristen's blog -  Wonderful at Home. She hosts a link-up each week where we can showcase some of the fun new things we are trying around here.

Wonderful at Home

Here's the story of how and why we ended up baking four loaves of banana bread in one week - three on the same day!
When we went down to South Carolina over Christmas break, my sister had a banana bread recipe she wanted to make. I offered to make it because I like to bake and Jenn, my sister, had to work. The recipe was super easy and amazingly delicious. Now, I don't like banana bread usually, but this one made me a believer. While home on a snow day last week, I tried the recipe again, because we had bananas going bad and I didn't want to throw them away. Again, the recipe turned out perfectly. 

But --- maybe it was because of the boring, cabin fever inducing snow outside or maybe I was channeling my inner Martha Stewart - I decided to see if I could find variations of banana bread that would make that base recipe even more tasty. I found three that I liked the sound of, but I couldn't choose between them. Sean agreed that they all sounded good, so we decided to make them all.

Once that was decided and we realized that meant we would have three loaves of bread at the end of a day, we thought about who we could share them with. That quickly turned into the idea of a taste test. We would give some friends a slice of each and ask them to choose the one they liked the best. 

Here are the recipes and results!

This is the base recipe for the banana bread - also known as the best banana bread we have ever tasted. 
I couldn't resist taking a bite as soon as I cut it!

For all the variations, we used the same Simply Recipes Banana Bread base and only added walnuts to that batter or toppings to that batter. We did not use the base batters included in this links.

Variation #1: We added 3/4 of a cup of walnuts to the batter and a flour/sugar/butter topping.
For the purposes of our taste tests, this was known as "Bread A".

Variation #2: We added 3/4 of a cup of walnuts to the batter and a cinnamon/sugar topping.
For the purposes of our taste tests, this was known as "Bread B".

Variation #3: We added a brown sugar/spices/butter topping.
For the purposes of our taste tests, this was known as "Bread C".

This is what each person who agreed to be our guinea pigs and taste testers was given (it is very obvious that we both are Type-A with OCD tendencies??? haha)...

...and here are the results:
Sean - I preferred Bread "B" because I like the sweet, cinnamon topping. I definitely prefer the bread to have walnuts.

Amanda - I preferred Bread "B" also. I am a sucker for cinnamon and loved the crunch the sugar and cinnamon added to the top. I also think the bread must always be made with walnuts from now on.

Jill (friend/coworker) - I preferred Bread "B" because of the cinnamon topping, and think the walnuts are a must. If Bread "C" had walnuts, I would have chosen that one.

Emily (Jill's 6 year old daughter) - Emily tried only one of the breads because she was full from dinner. :) She picked Bread "B" because her first cousin's name starts with that letter. How cute is she?!? She liked what she tried, so we are counting that as a vote for Bread "B".

Alisha (friend/coworker) - I preferred Bread "B" because it was a sweeter topping. I can go either way with the walnuts.

Jesse (husband of Alisha/friend)
  - I preferred Bread "B". (A man of few words. haha)

So, according to our very informal and not-so-scientific taste test, the preferred topping was "B" - the cinnamon and sugar topping. It also seems to be fairly universal that walnuts are a necessity for the batter.

This was really fun! We had a good time scoping out different recipes and seeing all the variations out there. We also have fun quizzing our friends on their favorites and what they liked/disliked. We think we should do this again. What recipe do you think should we taste test? Brownies? Cookies? Share your suggestions and maybe you can be one of our next taste testers.

Happy Baking,

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