My Favorite Banana Bread
How is everyone enjoying this fine holiday weekend? Stupendously I hope! We spent the long break at home, despite the siren call of sunny beaches, and were rewarded with a quiet city, no traffic, much needed lazy days, and many occasions to get together with the family and friends who also decided to stay put.
A lovely barbecue and swim at a friend’s new home (little C certainly enjoyed playing with their daughter in the big garden). A rollicking catching-up with C’s family at our place, with a hurriedly but excitedly procured spread of Danish pastries, cold cuts, cheese, and freshly baked bread from out neighborhood hotel deli (only the hotels were open!). A Zamboanga feast at home consisting of Zamboanga chorizo, Zmboanga tamales, and curacha and prawns in Alavar sauce. And a festive Easter lunch with my family, including a lot of playtime for little C.
It also gave me a chance to do a spot of baking, blithely ignoring the burgeoning heat. I have made banana bread many, many times before. A good number of them featured here on this blog. I am loath to throw another banana bread recipe your way but for two reasons: 1. I really, really love banana bread and 2. This is actually my favorite of all the banana bread recipes I use (and I do use plenty…depending on the situation***). I had mentioned this recipe before here, referring to it as my favorite banana bread recipe. I don’t make it as often as it calls for three cups of mashed bananas, roughly 7-10 bananas (depending on size). And leaving 7-10 bananas to go overripe (as is the best state for bananas to be in when making banana bread) without anyone filching 1, 2, or more is quite a feat.
Well, this Easter break the stars aligned and thanks to my prudently storing overripe bananas in our freezer, and C’s last minute grocery run heroics to get what was lacking, I was able to make this. And share it here with you.
My Favorite Banana Bread
(adapted from the Banana Nut Bread from Mrs. Fields Cookie Book, streusel nut topping from here)
- 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 7-10, depending on size)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
For the streusel topping:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, in cubes
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
- First make your streusel topping: Combine the sugar and flour in a small bowl. Cut in the butter, using a pastry blender or, failing that, two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the walnuts. Cover and set aside in the fridge while you get on with your batter.
- Whisk together the flour, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar (I use my mixer’s paddle attachment) until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, bananas, and vanilla and beat at medium speed until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture then blend at low speed until just combined. Do not over mix. Make sure to give the bowl a good scrape to make sure everything from the bottom of the bowl is mixed in properly.
- Divide batter between two greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. I like to grease and line the pans with parchment, leaving some overhang of parchment to use as a “sling” to easily get the loaves out of the pans. Get your streusel topping and crumble over the two loaves. Bake in a pre-heated 325F oven for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn the pans on their sides and cool to room temperature before removing and slicing.
This recipe has no stellar provenance to speak of. It comes from an old, tattered copy of the Mrs. Fields Cookie Book, a cookbook I have had since I was a child. But through the years of making banana bread, this one remains my staunch favorite. I have altered it only slightly, nixing the walnuts that go into the cake itself and instead crowning it with a streusel nut topping which I borrowed from a good friend’s recipe. Don’t be nervous about what seems to be a massive amount of mashed bananas that go into the batter…it will all work out in the end, I promise. This makes two loaves so you can have one for yourself and gift one to a friend, making it, in my book, all the more perfect.
Warm Easter greetings to all who celebrate it! And for those who don’t, a wonderful weekend all the same!
***A quick round up of my previous banana bread posts (one for every situation!) can be found here.