Thank goodness for banana bread. It doesn’t seem to matter at what stage I purchase my bananas – whether green, barely turning yellow, or perfectly golden – I always seem to have one or two that are squishy, spotty, and brown before the Better Half and I can eat them all.
Of course, there are other uses for leftover bananas: smoothies, pancakes, muffins, faux ice cream, etc. However, I suggest that none of these is so delightful as a lovely golden loaf of banana bread. This beautiful batch lasted barely 24 hours in our house. It made me think I should start buying bananas expressly for the purpose of making banana bread, since for some reason I have never actually done that. Banana bread is something you make with leftover bananas, in my mind, as as such it remains a sort of happy surprise every time I make it. I know that’s totally illogical, but there you have it.
I had been using the same banana bread recipe for several years, but it called for quite a large quantity of oil and I started looking for an alternative. I recently stumbled upon this version in Amanda Hesser’s The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century
that uses softened butter rather than oil, and I have found my new favourite. This version has a perfect cake-like texture and an incredible banana flavour. I added berries and nuts to mine, which you can leave out if you like.
Other additions I routinely make to banana loaf are chocolate chips (white, milk or dark), dried fruits such as cranberries, other berries such as raspberries, and any sort of nut (chopped almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts are good). Although, as I mentioned, this loaf was gone from my house in the blink of an eye, it will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
- 1 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup butter, softened
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3)
- 1 cup blueberries (optional)
- ⅔ cup walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy (I used my stand mixer). Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the flour mixture alternately with the bananas, a small amount at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Fold in blueberries and walnuts.
- Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out almost clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let the bread cool slightly, then remove from the pan and let cool completely in a baking rack.
Source: Adapted from Amanda Hesser’s Banana Tea Bread recipe in The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century