One of my favorite dessert breads to make is banana nut bread. I make it because I love it or when I have bananas that are way too ripe for anything else, when it’s winter or cold outside because I crave a slice with some hot coffee or tea, by request or just when I’m bored and all the ingredients happen to be at my disposal. I’ve made it close to 50 times if you can believe it, when I actually thought about it, I couldn’t believe it! It’s just so easy that it’s almost dangerous that I’ve memorized the recipe.
In the last few years, after some trial and error I finally have it down to what may have been the BEST Banana Nut Bread I ever tasted, EVER. Let’s just say that the moment I was completely seduced and sent to heaven by my first BNB was in the fall of 1998. There was a coffee shop on Powell Street in San Francisco that baked it every morning. I fell in love with BNB the first time I had it with coffee in the back table during my sketching for communications class. The coffee shop eventually closed its doors and I was left broken hearted. Since then I had tried to find the same sweet delight elsewhere, but now I can say I’ve come close to that level of divine perfection.
(Break to enjoy a bite…mmm…and it’s so spongy too….mmm…ok dust crumbs off…and I’m back)
For the purpose of this post I wanted to test out two things, two different types of vanilla extract and the heat level of my oven because since I moved and I’ve been using a new stove the moisture of my bread was an issue. So, I made this loaf of bread twice. The picture above is the perfected version. The before and after photos below were from the loaf prior or in this case a delicious casualty.
Ready to try?
First of all, I use 4 bowls (I know, lots right?) and 3 ripe bananas (if they have dark freckles they are telling you they are ready to be transformed). Break up the bananas a bit in one of the bowls with a fork and then briefly use the blender to make sure the pieces are evenly broken down. Set aside.
Use 1/2 stick of butter at room temperature. Make sure the butter is soft enough, but don’t melt it, I know you will be tempted to. Simply cut it up in small slices and mix with one cup of cane sugar. Use a fork to break down the butter pieces and mix together with the sugar until it becomes a paste or close to it. Use a blender for this and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix 2 eggs (room temperature) with 1 tsp of bourbon-vanilla extract. This extract is the secret ingredient, you can find it at Trader Joe’s. Take this mixture and slowly blend it with the sugar/butter. Now mix in the banana mixture together with a fork until it’s evenly distributed. It will be a yellow and runny mess but you’re almost there. Set aside (yes again!)
In a larger bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix. The with a rubber spatula fold in the sugar-banana mixture to the flour mixture slowly until it’s fully combined. Now take up to 1/4 cup of walnut pieces and fold into the mixture.
Take some butter and coat the loaf pan so the bread can easily come out when it’s done. Pour the banana nut bread mix into the loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 45-55 minutes. The time will depend on your oven. When the bread is golden brown insert a toothpick to check. If it comes out clean your bread is ready! Let cool for about 10 minutes and remove from pan. Once the bread has been cooled wrap the loaf of bread in plastic wrap. It will release sugar and butter and give it a yummy tasting coating and it won’t dry. Enjoy and be ready to go bananas for this one, I know I do!
What you’ll need:
- 4 bowls (2 small, 1 med, 1 large)
- 3 ripe bananas (they should have dark freckles and be soft)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of cane sugar (but regular sugar will do too)
- 1 tsp of bourbon-vanilla extract (regular vanilla extract is fine)
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder (optional)
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick ) of butter
- 1 loaf pan
- Walnut pieces (you can also use chopped almonds or pecans)