Earlier today Emma mentioned her craving for banana bread and that was all I needed to head into the kitchen. Most people have a favorite recipe for this tasty treat, but I've converted almost everyone I've ever served with this simple recipe handed down to me from my mother. It bakes up beautifully, is moist, tender and isn't crowded with extra ingredients that get in the way of the pure banana flavor. Trust me when I say, "You're gonna wanna make this!"
What You Need
1/2 cup butter or margarine (yes margarine), softened
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (2 medium bananas) mashed bananas
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Hand or stand mixer
Baking pans (loaf, muffin or other)
1. Gather Ingredients
The key to perfect banana bread is in your ingredients. You don't need anything snooty, but making sure your bananas (if frozen), butter and eggs are all at room temperature will make all the difference in the world. No they don't have to be (we've made it in a hurry many times in the past), but if you can remember a half hour in advance to set them all out on the counter, you're sure to be rewarded!
2. Preheat & Prep
Preheat your oven to 350° and grease the pan of your choice. This recipe makes 1 loaf but also makes 6-8 muffins. You can even bake it in small glassware like we have above.
Add butter and sugar to bowl of mixer. Blend on low until combined and then increase speed until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
4. Add Eggs & Bananas
Crack and add eggs to the mixture one at a time, incorporating after each addition. Next, add bananas and blend on low until combined. Mixture will appear to curdle or separate and that's alright. If all your ingredients were at room temperature, this shouldn't occur and will keep the texture more creamy.
5. Add The Wet
Add the remaining milk and vanilla to the mixture and mix just until combined.
6. Add The Dry
Add the flour to the bowl and the other ingredients on top of it (sift prior if you wish). Mix on medium speed until mixture has come together and is thick and creamy. Now is the time to check the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all dry ingredients and butter has been incorporated.
7. Add Any Extras
Now is the time to stir in nuts, berries or chocolate chips if you wish. Wet fruit will alter and make things a bit soggy, so we suggest pre-plumbed dried fruit instead.
Pour into prepared pan and smooth surface with a spatula. Place in preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. If you use a different size pan, start checking after 20 minutes in 10 minutes increments for doneness. Some moistness in the crest that forms is fine, but actual "goop" will mean it needs to continue cooking.
9. Allow To Cool
This could be the more difficult step in the entire process. This bread is fantastic warm, but straight out of the oven it will need a few minutes (like 20) to cool and release from the pan. Lay pay on it's side to cool and after 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge and remove from pan. Allow the loaf to continue cooling on a drying rack for an additional 10 minutes and enjoy!
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(Images: Sarah Rae Trover)