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May 1, 2004 10:25 PM

Yummy additions to banana bread?

  • m

I'm trying to develop the most yummy banana bread possible. I like it very moist, with lots of banana flavor, and I'm starting from the basic Bittman recipe in How to Cook Everything (stick of butter, 3 bananas, 2 eggs, 2 c. flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, dried coconut, nuts.)
I've tried the following modifications:
--used more bananas. Went up to four, next time will go to five. I reduced a bit the butter, but next time will leave the whole stick in.
--I toasted the coconut. Bleh. It was sawdust-like coconut to begin with, and toasting it only made it harder.
--I toasted the nuts (pecans). Didn't notice a difference in the final product.
--added 3/4 C. of raisins which had been soaked in rum. This was yummy!
--When the bread was just out of the oven, I threw on it the rum in which the raisins had been soaking. I think it was about a half cup, and it was delicious!

. But I still don't have the ultimate yumminess. I've been thinking of using coconut milk instead of coconut, but can that be done? Should I eliminate another ingredient in order to add the coconut milk? And I'm wondering what else I can add to make a great banana bread (and also to make it as pudding-y as possible.)

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  1. I don't have the recipe in front of me but the banana bread that I make calls for oil instead of butter and also has cinnamon and nutmeg. I just recently made it with chocolate chips, it was great. I like to under bake it a little and I find that if you put it in the fridge for a couple of hours it is easier to slice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mleigh

      Yes, chocolate chips. My mother has always put chocolate chips in her banana bread - probably to get us to eat it when we were little - and what do you know, her tactic was successful.

    2. I've made a few variations that increase the gooey creamy moist factor. Unfortunately I don't have the recipes. One called for plain yogurt; one called for condensed or evaporated milk, either way you have to adjust the sugar. Another method is to add a packet or two of powdered banana pudding mix... that seems to really keep moisture. Finally, using brown sugar seems to help as well. I don't like banana bread myself, but I recall each of these producing a good loaf for the lovers of the stuff in my life!

      1. My housemate makes banana bread regularly, and always puts dried cranberries in it. I think the tartness balances really well with the sometimes cloying sweetness from the bananas.

        I also agree with the other poster that using oil instead of butter will give you a more gooey product. Using a strongly flavored oil (a nut oil or even EVOO) will add flavor and richness. You could probably substitute coconut milk for some of the oil as well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Cranberries--very good.
          Currants, soaked in rum--even better.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            ....I have a bottle of walnut oil in the fridge, but have only used it for vinagrettes. Never thought about using it in a quick bread recipe that uses oil and nuts. Thanks for the creative suggestion!

          2. Try adding 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt, keep the toasted cocunut and sub toasted macademia nuts for the pecans. Its a version of the CI recipe that I love.

            1. p
              Professor Salt

              I get really moist, very banana-y results using the Cook's Illustrated recipe in The Best Recipes book. The recipe uses plain yogurt, but nothing else that starts off as a liquid. I say "starts off liquid" because butter and sugar both liquefy during baking.

              One other thing - I save my almost-too-ripe bananas in the freezer for banana bread. I thaw them in the nuke before use, which also releases some water. Perhaps this intensifies the already ripe banana flavor?