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Banana Bread: simple and good

  • c

Banana bread is certainly not my favorite quick bread, but I know a good one when I see and taste it. When I had 3 overripe bananas sadly slouching on the counter and going downhill quickly, I scurried to find a recipe.

My mom's recipe is alright, but too sweet and oily. Other recipes I've tried have been forgettable. So I was happy to find the linked recipe from the scrutinizing folks at America's Test Kitchen. As they tend to excel at homey American foods, this recipe was a winner and is now my go-to recipe for banana bread.

Pictured below, it is everything a quick bread should be: super easy to put together (no fancy equipment or major clean up) and super homey and delicious. Unfortunately, I didn't have any walnuts on hand like the recipe calls for, so I had to improvise and threw in the meager remnants of a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a handful of dried cranberries. While my plan B worked alright, I think using only toasted walnuts would have taken it to the next level. Chocolate chips are too sweet and overpowering in banana bread IMO. Unless you're allergic, go for the walnuts!!

I like that this recipe uses melted butter instead of nasty veg/canola oil. I also like that there's alot of banana and not too many fillers or spices to complicate it. Crumb was tight and very tender (from the yogurt), and the exterior was a beautiful, even bronze w/ that cracked crest that gives it oomph and character. Sliced like a dream. The banana really sang and thanked me for a dignified transformation. Tastes better as it ages...

BTW, if you think you have a better BB recipe, then please share...I'm not sure if I need it, but I'm a sucker for recipe comparisons.

Link: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

Image: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y45/...

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  1. Thanks! I've actually got all the ingredients. I'll make this cake tomorrow.

    1. c
      ChowFun (derek)

      This is my favorite..puddin' like with chunks of banana.

      Link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChowFun (derek)

        I took your recommendation and made this last nite. There's nothing left, and my bananas won't be ripe for another 4-5 days! The thing that intrigued me was the method of whipping the bananas and then mashing the others. It worked really well. Thanks.

      2. p
        PommieCrumpet

        This actually looks exactly like the Bill Granger recipe I use (and love) but trying to be healthy I cut the sugar out completely, use half wholewheat flour and half all purpose and then swap the chocolate chips for walnuts. I think the end result was even better, bananas provide enough sweetness on their own.

        Of course, we will overlook the fact I then eat it warmed and spread with nutella :-))

        Here is the link in case you do want to compare...

        Link: http://www.abc.net.au/westernplains/s...

        3 Replies
        1. re: PommieCrumpet

          One of my favorite recipes from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" is his banana bread recipe, which also calls for half whole-wheat flour with half all-purpose, and it addes this incredible nutty texture and flavor. I also don't like oily bread, and like my banana bread to be more toast-able so it can bear butter well.

          1. re: AppleSister

            I make a sweet potato bread using half whole wheat flour, and wheat bran, oat bran, and ground nuts for the other half. It should work just as well with bananas or other puree.

            Actually it is adapted from a pumpkin recipe, so I also use a mixture of the sweet spices and molasses. Since there is plenty of other flavors, I use oil instead of butter.

            paulj

          2. re: PommieCrumpet

            This is a good recipe, I've made it twice...I really like Bill Granger's stuff, but it still can't beat my mom's...

            Mix: 1 stick butter
            1 cup sugar
            Add and Mix: 2 eggs
            3 mashed bananas
            1/3 c. hot water
            1 cup oatmeal (Rolled Oats)
            1 cup whole-wheat flour
            1 tsp. salt
            1 tsp. baking soda
            Bake in 1 large bread pan, greased and floured, at 350 degrees.

          3. Here's a recipe I've fiddled with so often I can't remember where it's from. It's one of the few recipes I've given out to enough friends that they actually refer to as "P's Banana Bread." As in "What's that smell? Did you make P's banana bread again? Sweeeeet!" So yes, I'm proud. Total strangers (friends' roommates) have asked for this bread. But looking at your recipe, it seems like mine's just a little more volume. Very similar ingredient list.

            I'm with you on this one: banana bread is just a way to use up mushy bananas. But in the case of the recipe below, it's also a condiut for delicious orange glaze.

            1 1/4 C flour

            3 ripe bananas, mashed

            1 tsp baking soda

            1/2 tsp salt

            2 eggs

            1/2 tsp vanilla extract

            1/2 C butter

            1 C sugar

            1/2 C walnuts, crushed

            dash cinammon

            dash nutmeg

            Grease a pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

            Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

            Whisk together eggs and vanilla. Cream butter and sugar separately, then slowly pour in egg mixture. Stir in bananas.

            Fold flour mixture into wet mixture, and fold in the nuts. Pour into pan and bake for 55 minutes (use the toothpick test). Cool for five minutes and turn the loaf unto a cooling rack. Make an orange glaze while you wait, if you're feeling adventurous and self-indulgent.

            zest of 1/2 an orange (or a whole orange if you love zest)

            2 Tbs orange juice

            1 1/4 C powdered sugar

            1 Tb butter, softened (NOT melted. The butter should be just soft enough to spread)

            Whisk together all ingredients, and refrigerate until it's as thick as a very creamy gravy. It should be thick enough that it doesn't soak into the banana nut bread, but not so cold that it's hardening into a shell. If it's too hard when you check your fridge, microwave for 5 seconds at a time until it's gravy-like. Drizzle over your banana nut bread and serve.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nooodles

              Many thanks, Pei, for this recipe. I used up two giant and mushy bananas to make this tonight. Instead of a loaf pan, I made a dozen muffins. Took only 30 minutes to bake. And for the glaze, I used 3 T. of rum since I didn't have any oranges on hand. It was very easy to dip the muffins head-first into the bowl of icing to frost them. After the first layer set, I dipped them a second time since I had some icing leftover. Maybe it's just my imagination, but it does feel like a little alcoholic tingle when i eat the iced muffins!

            2. The banana bread looks great. I have tried the recipe too and thought it was really good, it is a textbook perfect banana bread that is sweet but not overly so and has a really nice crumb. A lot of other banana breads I've tried turn out cakey. I've tried a few others but my community of tasters all gave ATK's BB a thumbs up. The only other BB recipe I've tried that I like better is from Steven Pyles, it calls for roasted bananas which I have incorporated into ATK's recipe. The other ingredients (pumpkin seeds, coconut milk and rum soaked raisins) are more exotic and not for BB purists.

              Link: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...