As summer is winding down, I'm welcoming Fall by making lots of banana bread to make my home smell cozy while I pull all my sweaters for the weather. Banana bread is one of my favorite go to recipes all year round, but something about warm banana bread with the cold weather is so comforting. I always buy bananas in handful amounts from Trader Joe's (umm 19 cents per banana each? yes please!) I love them in smoothies, or letting them go very ripe and baking them in cakes and breads. Also happens to be one of my favorite foods to gift, feeding my mom when she visits from out of town, sharing a loaf with my co workers, handing them off to my boyfriend's office where it disappears in mere minutes.
It's so simple to make, one of those classic yet essential recipes to have locked down. Even if you're one of those people who says, "I can't bake at all, I would mess it up." Have no fear, I got you!
When it comes to making that delicious banana bread, your number one all star is going to be the bananas. You want those in a ripe to very ripe state, the browner the better. I normally store some in a brown paper bag (save that shopping bag) and bunch it up closed for 2-3 days to speed the process. If you're sometimes a little bit impatient, you don't have to let the skins go fully browned, just get big dots of brown all over. Or you can cook bananas with the peel still on and place on a baking sheet, place in the oven at 250 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool before you peel and mash.
For this recipe, I used a combination of melted butter AND oil. Yes that's right, I used both these to provide a sturdy yet moist bite to this loaf. The butter provides that classic buttery taste and has that fluffy texture, where the oil keeps the bread moist and I find it gives a nice crust to the bread as it bakes. I used olive oil because I so happened to be out of vegetable oil, and I think it gives just a little more of a firm hold to it, but I would gladly substitute for vegetable oil as well. When it comes to sugar, brown sugar gives that more darker sweetness, that molasses goodness helps give the banana a more balanced sweet taste than using granulated sugar.
Once you've mastered this recipe, you can easily take it up a notch. Sometimes when I really want some chocolate, I add in chocolate chunks (The darker the chocolate, the better) and fold that into my batter before I pour it into the pan. Easily add in some shredded zucchini or carrots when you're mixing wet ingredients together to balance a little savory with your sweet. Even give a splash of bourbon or rum when mixing wet ingredients for an extra little kick of flavor.
Makes: 1 loaf Prep time: 15 minutes Total Time: 75 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger (or ground ginger)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3-4 medium-sized brown or very ripe bananas, plus 1 extra banana for topping the loaf
- 1/4 cup olive oil (easily can sub for vegetable or canola oil
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Whisk to evenly mix all ingredients.
- In another medium or large bowl, mash ripe bananas with a fork or wooden spoon. Add melted butter and oil, stir until just combined. Add brown sugar, freshly grated ginger, vanilla, and egg. Stir until combined.
- Add half of the dry mixture to wet ingredients, folding gently until you most of the dry ingredients have combined. Add remaining half of dry ingredients to wet, fold until batter is no longer showing any dry ingredients. I saved my 4th banana and cut it in half lengthwise and topped it on the loaf, totally optional.
- Grease loaf pan with butter or oil, you can also use parchment. Pour batter into prepared pan, bake for 60 mins. I always like to check my bread 10 minutes early by running a toothpick or fork into the bread and seeing if it comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let the bread sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Let the loaf cool on a wire cooling rack and serve when still warm.