As you may remember, I wrote about my previous banana bread making adventure roughly a year ago. Needless to say, that adventure hasn’t ended (and possibly never will).
Over the last year, I’ve read literally hundreds of banana bread recipes and – you probably know this already but I wasn’t specifically aware – there are entire books published with nothing but dozens and dozens of banana bread recipes!
And I’ve learned some things.
First, apparently there are secret (ingredient) banana bread recipes. I’m not exactly sure why they’re considered secret and if they’re still considered secret if we keep sharing them and posting them online but nonetheless.
Second, you must use a superlative. I think it’s a rule somewhere. Like, my grandma’s super-duper ultimate best fantastic amazing awesome banana bread recipe. I’m not sure yet how to one-up those.
Third, we consider these family recipes even though Grandma cut them out from a magazine or newspaper whose masthead or byline is faded but still visible on them. But by golly we consider them our own and I kind of dig that.
As to that secret ingredient, I started making a list but after a while it just felt silly.
Allspice, cardamom, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pistachios, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, jalapeno / habanero / serrano peppers (who knew?), dates, figs, lemon, lemongrass, lime, orange, papaya, pineapple, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, Armagnac, banana liqueur, brandy, cognac, rum, chocolate (of course), coconut, coffee, espresso, honey, maple syrup, marshmallow, oatmeal, and sweet potato. And lots of others.
So naturally, after a while, I couldn’t resist and I had to create my own recipe.
It took me a while too. No doubt, many people in my world are tired of my banana breads du jour. Except my youngest boy.
I’ve always joked that a real coffee drinker can walk into a place, ask how the coffee is today, and be told that it’s bitter and cold and nearly undrinkable. To which a real coffee drinker can then be heard to say, “Okay, I guess just one cup.”
My youngest is like that with banana bread.
Now, most recipes follow a pretty standard pattern and then ornament themselves with one, two, or even three of the secret ingredients. (Don’t do four unless you’re a professional. I read that somewhere.)
To start, mix the wet ingredients together in one bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl. Mix the wet into the dry or the dry into the wet. Into a pan. Bake for about an hour.
All-purpose flour? Whole wheat? Rye? Self-rising? Cake? Or a combination?
Butter? Oil? Both?
White sugar? Brown sugar? Combination?
One recipe in particular that caught my attention beat the eggs and sugar until they feathered out and formed ribbons and then drizzled in the oil like you’re making mayonnaise. Well, I had to try that.
And it made the bread lighter and seemingly richer. So you can be sure I adopted that idea and haven’t looked back.
Before I get down to it, let’s be clear.
You will undoubtedly prefer one recipe more than another and you are correct. Almost everybody I’ve talked to likes their recipe the best and I firmly believe they’re absolutely right to do so and I wouldn’t dream of arguing with them. (Besides, I will not get between grandmas. You don’t have to tell me twice.)
Almost everyone’s recipe is certainly the best and I’m great with that. I’ve learned it’s the beauty and innate superpower of banana bread.
So here you go. Here’s my new recipe. I hope you’ll give it a whirl. We like it a lot. Like I said, feel free to still like yours better and we can celebrate our diversity. As the Carpenters sang back in ’71, Make your own kind of music.
Suppertime Blues Banana Bread
I believe there are as many banana bread recipes as there are cookbooks in this world. This one’s mine and I hope you’ll give it a try. Follow the adventures on suppertimeblues.com.
- 2 cups bananas, very ripe, mashed, 3 (large) or 4 (medium)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (½ teaspoon table salt)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons sour cream (or plain yogurt, crème fraiche, buttermilk)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, large, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup oil, canola or other neutral
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped, toasted
- ½ cup pecans, chopped, toasted
Pull the eggs out of the refrigerator to allow them time to warm up to room temperature.
Butter (or grease) and lightly flour a 9x5 loaf pan.
Preheat your oven to 350°F if using a light metal pan or 325°F if using a dark metal or glass pan.
If your bananas are not very ripe, place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 350°F/325°F for 15-30 minutes until they turn mostly black. Let them cool before peeling them!
You can toast your chopped nuts on a baking sheet in this same oven, about 8 minutes – being careful not to burn them.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
Add the vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sour cream. Mix well.
Add the flour. Stir just until the flour is mixed.
In a separate bowl, with a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar for about 8-10 minutes. Not so fast to make meringue, but more like a very fast whisk, enough to make a very smooth and light batter.
With the mixer still running, slowly drizzle in the oil. (If you’ve made mayo before, this feels a bit similar.)
Now, with a rubber spatula, fold the egg and sugar mix into the first bowl until it’s just mixed. We don’t want to deflate all the air from the beaten mix.
Gently stir in the toasted nuts.
Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool for 15 minutes and then remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack.