Friday, December 30, 2005

The best banana bread. Really.

I hate to talk trash, but my banana bread is the best in the world. Really. Now, you may be thinking, "Hey, MY banana bread is pretty damned good!" And I'm sure it is. It may be an excellent banana bread, but since mine is, objectively speaking, the best possible banana bread, it only stands to reason that all other banana breads are, tragically, inferior.

But have no fear! In the spirit of holiday generosity, I am willing to share my banana bread recipe with you, and then you too can brag safe in the knowledge that your claims are backed up with absolute, verifiable truth.

(This recipe is adapted from that at the joy of baking website.)

Banana Bread
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (I'm sure you could substitute wildly here, whatever combination of brown and white you've got. But this is what I use.)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 stick melted butter (cooled)
Between 1 1/2-1 3/4 cup ripe banana (Use as much as you've got. The riper the better. Rotten even. Wait until the flies circle.)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional items (Without them, I fear you might only end up with the second-best banana bread in the world. But if allergies or weird food prejudices prevent these additions, you can omit them. But you should really try the full monty.)
1/4 cup wheat germ
2/3 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped and toasted walnuts or pecans
1/2 tsp Frontier natural walnut flavoring*

Mix together butter, banana, eggs, and extracts. (Do yourself a favor and just mix them in the saucepan you used to melt the butter.) Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then fold the wet ingredients in. Do not overmix. Add the dates and nuts when you can still see big streaks of flour, to avoid overmixing. Bake in a buttered loaf pan in a 350 degree oven until done, about an hour.

*I have no idea how "natural" Frontier Natural Walnut Flavoring is. It's probably walnut shells infused in petroleum, with maybe some ground walrus tusks. I don't know. I don't care. I love this stuff. It gives a subtle nutty flavoring throughout a bread or muffin or cookie. I add it to anything baked that includes nuts. If the company ever goes out of business, I will buy up a case. Posted by Picasa

30 comments:

Walter Jeffries said...

Mmmm.... I love banana bread. I can almost smell it!
Happy New Years!
-Walter
Sugar Mtn Farm
in Vermont

Helen said...

This post could not be more timely (oh, and the brussel sprouts look gorgeous!). After I discovered how to measure flour properly, I've been on a baking binge, and banana bread is my next victim. The scary thing is that I already gained 10 Lbs, and I am not sure if I was better off measuring flour incorrectly ;) But who can resist banana bread! I just hope my bananas are rotten enough by this weekend. By the way, do you think I can freeze banana bread?

Thanks again for the-best-banana- bread-ever recipe and inspiration.

Amy said...

Thanks for the recipe! I made 8 mini-loaves, and yes Helen, banana bread freezes very well.

cheeny_pepper said...

Hey this looks perfect...Your recipe has it exactly the way I like it, thanks for sharing.

shawna said...

I have been making banana bread for over ten years( my grandmothers recipe...who was a 100 years old in march...and the best cook ever!!!)I have to say(don't tell her)your banana bread is the best... It is exactly the way banana bread should be!!!! I couldn't find any frontier's walnut flavoring,but it was delicious anyway...I also added some coconut on one of the loaves I made. It was great!Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe with us. Thanks, Shawna from Texas

Jamison said...

I love this recipe because it is consistently good! The best I have ever made. I have passed on the recipe to several friends because once they try it they want more. Thanks!

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Craig said...

This recipe is so great!
well at least my nose thought so.
they are still in the oven!!
i was bummed when i looked for walnuts in the pantry and couldn't find any. :(
I bet they'll be good without them too!!
Thank you so much!!

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a more intense banana bread recipe. I just put the loafs in the oven when I thought "I wish I added some orange zest, dang it!" Ohwell, I'm sure it will be tasty and I will add some zest in next time. Thanks for the recipe.

Laura said...

This recipe is DELICIOUS! It got raves both at home and at work! This is not only a keeper, but now my favorite banana bread recipe!

Anonymous said...

I just made this bread and it was O.K. Definitely, not the best I have ever had. Before you say anything...I am a really good baker. I was just expecting a more intense banana taste like the bread you get from the coffee shops.

Pyewacket said...

Hmm...intensity. There are two possibilities here, since this is a pretty high-banana-level bread. One is that people are using less than blackened bananas. Ripe bananas aren't enough for banana bread, the skin should be very dark, the flesh soft and the fragrance strong. Use the higher amount of banana called for for greater intensity. But the second possibility is one I hate to bring up, since it seems a tad defensive on my part. However, some coffee shops use artificial banana flavoring in their breads and muffins (in addition to actual banana), which gives a banana flavor much like a "banana" Lifesaver. Because there is actual banana in such recipes, the artificial flavor is a layer on top of the base flavor, making a very intense, but chemically-tinged, banana flavor. If you are used to such a recipe, homemade banana breads will always lack a certain note in the flavor. But of course, that may not be it at all - I suppose there's some possibility that someone out there has a BETTER banana bread recipe than this one. Seems so unlikely, though (this is where I would put a winking emoticon, if I used such things).

Susan said...

omg - i'm posting nearly 4 years later - but i can't wait to make this - BUT this is for one regular loaf pan? it sounds like it makes more than 1 loaf pan - PLEASE post asap if you know. also, how do i find the brussels sprouts that is referenced by Helen?

Pyewacket said...

One loaf, of fair size.
And I suspect Helen was referring to this post: http://seasonalcook.blogspot.com/2006/01/brussels-sprouts.html

SUSAN said...

thank you pyewacket! i'm heading to the kitchen RIGHT NOW w/a glass of malbec and hope for the best! wheat germ can be very expensive, so hopefully this is a great recipe (as purported!) and i will not waste my big jar of wheat germ! I even ordered that walnut stuff! thanks! susan :-)

susan s. said...

pyewacket...mmmm mmmm mmmm - as my main man joe says when something positively strikes his fancy - he says with love - i should smack yo momma! highest of high compliments! absolutely divine and delicious! as my jewish grandmother used to say, G-d will bless your hands! thanks! happy and healthy holidays! susan and joe!

Anonymous said...

Alright, I can't lie- most times, when I read messages on forums or on sites like this one, it's only to roll my eyes at the stupidity of most of the people who post and answer. But there are some Seriously funny people on here. Pyewacket- My kind of humor. Fabulous. And Susan S.? I am absolutely adopting the phrase, "I should smack yo mama." It just feels like the kind of random thing a 5'2" white girl should say. Don't judge me.

(Oh right- and the whole RECIPE thing sounds alright too, I guess. Sheesh, some people are so self involved.) :) (seriously, though, I'm going to try the recipe tomorrow). (Evidently, I like parentheticals)

Anonymous said...

What is a "stick" of butter? How many oz's or grammes is that? Looking forward to making this although it is too cold here - the bananas never seem to get ripe no matter how long you leave them. Maybe I'll need to wait for summer or leave the bananas on the boiler!

Kirsten said...

lets say I wanna make it into muffins instead of loaves of bread, due to a busy schedule and a loathing of dishes. How would that effect the time I leave it in the oven and the temp. degree? Thanks for this recipe, I hate to cook but the way you put it makes me feel like cooking is flexible and I can't miss no matter what. Plus, I have fruit flies, nuf said...

Pyewacket said...

A stick of butter is 8 tablespoons or 4 oz of butter.

Muffins will cook significantly faster than a loaf. Depending on the size of your muffin tins, I would expect about 1/2 hour, maybe a tad less if they are small, or more if you're making the Texas-sized ones. I also think muffins tend to rise higher if you cook them in a hotter oven - certainly 375, but you might even be able to kick it up to 400 if the muffins are on the small side. If they're big, you'll end up with the outside burned before the inside is cooked, so watch that. But baking is pretty forgiving, so don't worry too much.

Erica Smeltzer said...

I just put mine in the oven - so this is a pre-taste post. The batter tasted amazing, but gosh darn it I forgot the wheat germ, and I even bought some just for the purpose. It looks like I will be giving this loaf away and making a perfect one to keep at home. Also, what IS the correct way to measure flower ... and, can I add a tad of bourbon like I do to my pies? (too late, I already did - I just want to know if something tragic is happening inside of my oven)

Anonymous said...

Helen, I learned today that you can even freeze your "ripe" bananas until your ready to use them! Wish I would've known this a long time ago :)

katty said...

The banana have many properties like the potassium and some vitamin too. that is why i prefer to use the bananas frequently in my recipe. and i love the flavour too. Even power the tissues, muscles and bones that can help with the sexual performance too.

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Anonymous said...

how long can banana bread stay in freezer

Spinach and Margaritas said...

I love humor, I'm sold, I'll make it, right NOW!

Anonymous said...

This really is the best banana bread recipe I've ever made, and the best I've ever tasted! Thank you sooo much for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

it smells super good!

Kim said...

I have used this recipe for years. But after I moved I couldn't find the recipe I printed!! So I Googled and googled in vain... Then I rememebered you mentioned flies around the bananas - bam! you were top of the search list!!!

I cut out quite a bit of sugar and I find it's still delicious!

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to say that this really is THE best banana bread ever! I've been making it for several years now - though once in a while I'll try another recipe just for a change, I will ALWAYS come back to this one!