Banana bread is a sweet, healthy snack that almost everyone enjoys. This classic recipe is simple, and the variations offer some exciting alternatives.
Bananas are grown in 132 countries worldwide, making them one of the worldâ€™s most popular fruits. They are high in potassium and in vitamins A, B6, and C, and are also a good source of fiber. Banana bread is a great way to use up bananas that have gotten too spotty and overripe to eat out of hand. If youâ€™re not going to use the bananas right away, you may freeze them, either in the skin or peeled and in a plastic bag. Allow them to thaw completely before using.
This base recipe is quite simple, and comes together very quickly. It is followed by four fun variations for when you want a change of pace.
Classic Banana Bread
1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose white flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
1. Have all ingredients at room temperature (68-70F). Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350F.
2. Grease at 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 (6 cup) loaf pan and set aside.
3. Whisk together thoroughly the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl.
4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until lightened in color and texture.
5. Beat in the flour mixture until blended and the batter is the consistency of brown sugar.
6. Gradually beat in the eggs.
7. Fold in the mashed banana and chopped nuts until just combined.
8. Scrape the batter into the greased loaf pan and spread evenly. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on a wire rack.
Tropical Banana Bread
Replace the 1/3 cup butter with a 5 ounce can of coconut milk, and add 1/3 cup diced or crushed pineapple and/or diced mango in step seven. Sprinkle top of loaf with 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut and bake as directed above.
Chocolate Banana Bread
Replace the 1/2 cup walnuts with 1/2 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips. Bake as directed above.
Vegan Banana Bread
Replace the 1/3 cup butter with 1/3 cup vegan margarine or with a 5 ounce can coconut milk. You may omit the eggs completely, since the bananas themselves do work as a binding agent, but the bread may come out a bit more crumbly than usual. You may also replace the two eggs with 3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed thoroughly with 1/4 cup warm water. Bake as directed above.
Hearty Banana Bread
Replace 1/3 cup of the unbleached all-purpose white flour with 1/3 cup whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. Add 1/4 cup ground flax seed and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in step three. Add 1/3 cup dried fruit (raisins, currents, diced dates, chopped apricots, etc., in any combination) to step seven. Bake as directed above, although with the increased fiber content of this recipe it may bake up more quickly, so start checking it after 40 minutes.