Making banana bread always reminds me of my childhood, when the extent of my baking involved being Mom’s helper…So, beating an egg with a fork, or mashing bananas for Mom’s banana bread. Really important jobs, okay you guys?
At our house we always had fresh baked goods, and still one of my favorite things is going over to Mom and Dad’s for a visit and indulging in whatever delicious treat Mom has just taken out of the oven. No matter what healthy kick I am on it will always take a backseat to her lemon loaf, pound cake, or gingersnaps. I wish we lived closer so I could pop over for a visit and share this one with her, because I know she’s going to bake it. Hopefully she can mash the bananas as good as I used to.
The original recipe for this Banana Bread is from The New Best Recipe, from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated. It’s my bible and has never steered me wrong. If you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it. (See my worn and bookmarked copy, above).
What I love about this recipe is not only the gorgeous flavor the orange zest and spice imparts, but the texture of the loaf itself. It develops its own thick, crunchy crust, and the density is akin to actual bread, not merely cake, which, bread lovers, I know you’re feeling that.
Some notes about this recipe:
Save your overripe bananas in a ziploc bag in the freezer. When you have enough, simply let them defrost on the counter, or in the microwave. Peeling them before you freeze them is one step better, but isn’t necessary.
A good slather of butter makes anything better. I added some honey, salt, and orange zest to mine to give it some color and an additional pop of flavour. Yum.
The orange zest and spices are completely optional. Leave them out if you choose for a classic Banana Bread.
Don’t overmix the batter once you’ve added in the flour. Only fold until no visible streaks remain.
This is a super dense loaf, so make sure you bake it until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out completely clean.
2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest together in a large bowl; set aside.
4. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
5. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then using the parchment ‘handles’ remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
6. The bread can be well-wrapped and frozen for up to month.
* 1 1/4 Cup Walnuts, chopped coarse
* 3/4 Cup Sugar
* 3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
* 1/2 Tsp Salt
* 1 1/2 Cups Overripe, Darkly Speckled Large Bananas, about 3, mashed with a fork
* 1/4 Cup Plain Yogurt
* 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
* 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
* 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
* 1 Tsp Cinnamon
* 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
* 2 Tbsp Grated Orange Zest