Call this a staple. Everyone should have a banana bread recipe in their collection. And I’m ready to hear what your favorites are because after many years of searching, I’m pretty sure I’ve found the one. The one that can make mothers forget why you picked a fight with them last week – er, and yesterday. The one that can win over mother in-laws. The one that you don’t just make because you have ripe bananas, but the one that you wait for bananas to ripen so that you can make. The one that has been tried and tested everyday for a week and still tastes great.
Have I lost you? Let’s back up. Banana bread is easy … and it’s hard. First, it’s easy because it is an easy way to use up a lot of ripe bananas. I tend to stock up. My fault because once I see a speckle, I will not eat it. Second, it’s easy because I haven’t tasted a banana bread that didn’t have banana flavor. That leads to the hard part of banana bread. Who knew it was so complicated? Almost all banana breads I’ve made and tried tend to be gummy, too dense and greasy. All except for this. After some considerable searching, I found a recipe that is packed with banana flavor without the weight, and a sugary crust that make each bite as wonderful as the first. Let’s say that bread should be bready and this remained bready for four days after – the longest I could the bread around in my house.
A slice of this and my mom forgot all about my bad attitude. For a solid day. There’s magic in this bread.
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 5 large, very ripe bananas, peeled
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Lightly spray a loaf pan (about 9 x 5 inches) with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; whisk together, and set aside.
- Place 5 bananas in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and make several slits in the wrap to allow steam to escape.
- Microwave on high until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bananas to a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and let drain, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes (you should have ½-¾ cup liquid).
- Transfer the reserved banana liquid to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to about ¼ cup, approximately 5-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the bananas and the reduced banana liquid. Mash with a fork or whisk until fairly smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the banana mixture.
- Fold together, just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not over-mix the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.
- Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the assembled loaf.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55-75 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the pan before removing.