I spent a long time looking for the perfect banana bread recipe, which, when you think about it, shouldn’t be all that hard. The problem I kept running into was finding all sorts of things in the recipes from buttermilk to sour cream. I prefer to get the moisture in my banana bread from the bananas, since it gives it more banana flavor rather than a milk-based additive. What I ended up with was a soft, caky banana bread that’s always a hit at parties or when I take it to work. The thing that varies for me is what spice I use in it. Usually I’ll put in nutmeg or allspice, but sometimes cloves. Honestly it’s usually whatever I see first on the shelf. The key part of great banana bread is bananas so ripe, you think they’re rotten. For this last batch, I let the bananas get so black, they started to ferment. If this makes you uncomfortable, just remember that any alcohol in the bananas will cook off. Because you let them go for so long, make sure to start out with big fruit or use an extra so it’s moist enough.
I think the best part about this recipe is that it takes a little over an hour from start to finish. It will keep, wrapped in foil, for up to a week.
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 extremely ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups (240 g./8.5 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg/allspice/cloves
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an 8x4 inch loaf pan. (I use 8x5 pans, but bake for a shorter time.)
In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until the sugar starts to dissolve. Stir in the egg. Add the bananas and vanilla extract and stir until fully mixed.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add to the banana mixture and stir gently until just combined. You should still have some bits of undissolved flour.
Pour into prepared loaf pan and tamp the base of the pan with your hand, or on a flat surface, to get rid of any bubbles. Bake for 50–60 minutes. Check about 40 minutes in. If it’s getting dark too soon, it means your oven is too hot. Bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let rest in pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool on an wire rack. I’d tell you to cool it completely, but good luck with that.