Whenever I buy a bunch of bananas, it never fails that I have at least 2 or 3 left at the end of the week that have turned completely black and are no longer very appealing for topping cereal or sliced on peanut butter toast. I realized this past weekend that I’ve probably been doing it on purpose…because you can’t make banana bread without over-ripe, almost rotten, bananas.
I absolutely love banana bread, but as with any recipe, I don’t love waiting a week for one of the main ingredients to be ripe enough to bake with. And bananas aren’t like most produce that is available at the store at an appropriate level of ripeness. You generally don’t find blackened bananas at the market (if you have please let me know and I will make it a point to bake more banana recipes!). Despite banana bread being insanely easy to make, the annoyance of baking it, at least for me, is waiting about a week for my bananas to turn from sunshine yellow to midnight black. Seriously, why don’t they sell blackened bananas at the grocery store?
So I’m forced to subconsciously plan ahead, buying yellow bananas, and then waiting, watching, until they turn black. But at the end of the day, when I had that piece of warm banana bread, moist and sweet, the week of anticipation was absolutely worth it.
This recipe is incredibly simple to make, and very versatile. While the baking time is a bit longer, the actual prep work is less than ten minutes. The bread turns out super moist, and I really enjoy eating it toasted with a little bit of butter, or if I’m feeling naughty, a spoonful of Nutella. It can be eaten for both breakfast, or served with a scoop of your favorite ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce for dessert. The possibilities are endless and always delicious.Note: Make sure your bananas are very ripe. Don’t be afraid of them turning almost black. The riper the better when baking with bananas. This recipe is infinitely adaptable in terms of additions. I use coconut and walnuts, but the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup golden raisins soaked in 6 tablespoons of bourbon (so Nigella Lawson!) You could replace walnuts with any of your favorite nuts, and feel free to add other dried fruits, chocolate chips, toffee pieces or white chocolate. Really whatever you fancy. This is just as good without any additions at all, and is the perfect accompaniment to a good cup of coffee.
My favorite Banana Bread
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 medium size bananas very ripe, mashed
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan (I used 8×4 and it worked well too).
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat, and beat in the sugar with a wooden spoon until blended. Beat the eggs, one at a time, and then add the vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until incorporated. Add the walnuts and coconut and stir to evenly distribute. Add in the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each portion. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 – 1 1/4 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when your kitchen is fragrant with bananas, the bread is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean(ish) (it’s okay to be a little gooey). Allow to cool, and then invert onto a cutting board. Cut into desired width and serve. Bread will keep for 4-5 days at room temperature, wrapped tightly in saran wrap.