For those who love to cook, Williams-Sonoma is a trusted and familiar name. Chuck Williams opened the first Williams-Sonoma store in the wine county of Sonoma, California, in 1956. Now, more than 200 Williams-Sonoma stores sell high-end kitchenwares and gourmet foods across North America.
Chuck Williams has also helped to revolutionize cooking in North America by bringing this love of food to an extensive and impressive library of beautiful cookbooks. Each cookbook in the Williams-Sonoma Collection series features gorgeous photographs and classic, fool-proof recipes.
Perhaps most impressive is the range and depth of the series. Focusing on the backbone of every cook’s repertoire, these inspiring books focus in-depth on every topic from fish to grilling to hors d’oeuvres, to risotto to soup to cake and cookies. Don’t forget bread, dessert, salad, vegetables, and chicken, either! And there are even more.
Why not welcome the start of March Break with this loaf of rich and delicious Banana-Nut Bread, featured on the cover of Bread? Bake a loaf and curl up with a good book over the weekend. Enjoy!
from Bread, Williams-Sonoma Collection Series; pg. 80.
-6 tablespoons (3 oz/90 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
-1 cup (8 oz/250 g) sugar
-2 or 3 very ripe bananas, coarsely mashed (about 1 ½ cups/9 oz/280 g)
-3 large eggs, lightly beaten
-½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) buttermilk
-2 cups (10 oz/315 g) all-purpose (plain) flour, plus extra for flouring
-1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-½ teaspoon salt
-¾ cup (3 oz/90 g) coarsely chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease and lightly flour a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pan.
In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the bananas and eggs and beat until smooth. Add the buttermilk and beat until just combined.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and nuts. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and beat until just combined. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It should be no more than two-thirds full. Bake until the loaf is dark golden brown and dry to the touch and the edges pull away from the pan sides, 55-60 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean. Let rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Cut into thick slices and serve.
Storage tip: Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature overnight or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Makes one 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf.