Bananas are versatile -- and they work in a variety of baked goods. Aside from classic banana bread, you can use them to make banana nut muffins, banana cupcakes, banana cheesecake and more. Most baked banana recipes call for very ripe bananas. However, if you don't have time to use them at the peak of their ripeness, you can freeze your ripe bananas and thaw them out later when you're ready to bake. There are several ways to freeze, depending on your preference.
Freezing Banana Options
Freeze the bananas in slices. Peel and slice the bananas evenly and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, place the sliced bananas in a freezer safe container in layers, separated by parchment paper
Freeze mashed bananas. Peel and mash up the bananas with a fork. Transfer the bananas to a freezer-safe resealable plastic back and press down, spreading the bananas so that the bag lays flat. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
Freeze whole bananas in the peel. Leaving the peel protects the banana from the elements of the freezer air, resulting in almost no discoloration. Place fully ripened bananas in the freezer in a freezer-safe resealable bag until you are ready to use.
Defrosting For Baking
Defrost sliced bananas by removing the portion you need from the freezer container and letting them thaw on the kitchen counter.
Thaw out mashed bananas by either laying the bag on your kitchen counter or dipping the bag in warm water if you need it to thaw very quickly.
Thaw whole, unpeeled bananas by first letting them sit five minutes, and then using a knife to remove the peel. Allow the unpeeled banana to thaw at room temperature before using for baking. It could take one to two hours. To speed up the process, microwave the bananas on a microwave-safe dish for one to two minutes.
Thawed Bananas Uses
Use your thawed whole bananas for banana bread. Mash them first, and then mix them with sugar, eggs, milk, butter, flour and baking soda to create the batter. Bake for about an hour at 375 degrees Fahrenheit in a greased loaf pan until you can insert a toothpick or fork in the center of the loaf and it comes out clean.
Make banana cupcakes. Combine thawed and mashed bananas with eggs, sugar, baking powder, butter, vanilla and flour. You can also add additional ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or crushed nuts. Pour the batter into a cupcake tin lined with cupcake liners. Baked the cupcakes at about 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of a cupcake and if it comes out clean, it's done. Frost with a cream cheese or buttercream frosting when the cupcakes cool.
Bake a banana pudding cheesecake. Mix the mashed bananas with milk and vanilla, and then fold into a mixture of cream cheese, sugar and eggs. Pour the mixture into a springform pan, and set that inside a roasting pan filling partially with water to create a water bath. Cover the entire pan with foil and bake in the oven at 350 degree F, until the cheesecake is set and only the center of it wiggles. This usually takes about 1 1/4 hours. Cool and chill before serving.
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