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Cowboy Bourbon Gold Rush Banana Bread

Part of the love of baking banana bread is the aroma in your house.

Certain foods just make your home feel, well, like home. There is something cozy and reassuring about the slow caramelization of sugars around the edges of the pan and the steam that creates the rise in a loaf of banana bread.

I have a house rule that we never throw out bananas – no matter how they look. So if they start to darken they get turned into bread, pancakes, or even a smoothie. And if there is no time for that – they get put in the freezer. Ripe bananas serve as the perfect surfactant for anything baked to help keep the texture moist, and they add a sweet flavor to boot.

This recipe boosts the nose appeal by the addition of bourbon. The Gold Rush is a modern take on the whiskey sour that includes honey and was reported to have been created by bartender T.J. Siegel at New York’s Milk and Honey in the early 2000’s. It is characterized by the use of a high proof bourbon such as the Garrison Brother’s Cowboy Bourbon. This high octane spirit is made in Hye just outside of my hometown of Fredericksburg and has become one of the quintessential quality Texas bourbons.

So what is a “high proof bourbon”? Bourbon is usually 40% alcohol – or 80 proof. High proof bourbon contains a much higher alcohol concentration such as this Cowboy version from Garrison which comes in at a whopping 137 proof. Of course if you prefer, you can just add the bourbon to ice and sip it as you smell the bread cooking in the kitchen.

4 1/2 oz unsalted butter, softened

12 oz bananas, very ripe

5 oz sugar

8 oz all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 oz sour cream

1 oz lemon juice, or about the juice of one lemon

2 tsp natural vanilla extract

1 oz high proof bourbon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a tall sided loaf pan.

Combine all of the ingredients and mix with a spoon until they are well combined. The mixture should be smooth without lumps or un-mixed flour. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Allow the bread to rest in the pan for 30 to 60 minutes before removing and slicing.

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Dan McCoy