Here’s a quick tip I picked up from America’s Test Kitcken Family Cookbook (which is a really good cookbook BTW–not a lot of low-calorie recipes though…but hey, when you follow a healthy lifestyle there’s always room for a little fun every now and then. Even Tony Horton himself states that he follows the “90/10″ rule.) I do see though that they now offer a new HEALTHY edition. That’s pretty sweet, I may need to pick one of those up! I LOVE America’s Test Kitchen, their recipes ALWAYS turn out really well for me!
Anyway, sometimes you want to bake something like banana bread but the bananas you have on hand just aren’t ripe enough. That’s OK, because you can easily put them in the oven while you gather everything else you’ll need to bake your bread. What you’ll need to do (BEFORE you peel and mash them) is put your bananas on a baking sheet and put them into a pre-heated oven (350 degrees) for about 15 minutes. The skins will turn black but the flesh of the bananas will be brown, soft, and sweet. This quick roast acts like an accelerated sunbath, coaxing out the natural sugars within.
America’s Test Kitchen says that “the abundance of natural sugars in overripe bananas is the secret to big flavor and serious moisture in cakes, quick breads, and muffins. Yellow bananas don’t have as much sweet flavor and will remain starchy even after baking.”
A word of warning though: this trick won’t work with green bananas. They contain way too much starch and are too bitter for baking.