Banana Bread and procrastination

August 12, 2008 at 12:07 am 21 comments


My summer reading book this year is Gulliver’s Travels. It’s a classic, full of satire and adventure and fantasy. At least, according to Cliff Notes. I can’t seem to focus on poor Gulliver and his compelling travels when it’s a gorgeous summer day and we have ripe bananas. No, I think I’ll make banana bread instead.

Unlike most people, I don’t make banana bread when unsightly brown splotches bloom all over our bananas. Honestly, I like banana bread so much that I can never wait for them to become overripe. I end up stashing them in a paper bag and waiting about a day, hoping they’ll be aged enough by the next day. I’ve even been known to use perfectly firm, yellow bananas for my bread, just mashing them extra soft with a fork. I know it compromises flavor. I can’t help it.

So like most people, I’ve tried a fair share of banana bread recipes. I’ve teetered from the traditional path a few times – chocolate chips, cocoa powder, nuts and no nuts, dried fruit, coconut – but when it comes down to it, plain and simple banana bread is what I really like. My dad has made banana bread on occasion for as long as I can remember, his favorite being Martha’s recipe (with half cake flour). Me, I still haven’t found The One. But this one came pretty close. It comes from Elise at Simply Recipes. I followed her recipe to a T (except that I sprinkled quick cooking oats over the top) and before long the house smelled like warm bananas. Mmmm. Definitely more enthralling than Gulliver’s Travels.

Elise’s Banana Bread

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar (can be reduced to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 4×8 loaf pan. Mix the bananas and butter with a wooden spoon in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla until combined, then the baking soda and salt. Gently add the flour, being careful not to overmix. Pour into the pan and top with quick cooking oats. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the banana bread cool 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a rack and cooling completely.

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Chocolate Cranberry Bran Muffins and a case of the blues

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hilary  |  September 2, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Hi! I’m Hilary I was just browsing thru cooking blogs and found yours. You have got some talent at such a young age! You go girl! I live in Seattle also, my husband loves banana bread and hates nuts in it. Thanks for the reciipe and great pictures!

    Reply
  • 2. Nicole  |  January 3, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I made this bread and it didn’t even last 5 minutes among 4 people, it was exquiste!

    Reply
  • 3. Hannah  |  March 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I made the banana bread it was so delicious!!!

    Reply
  • 4. Stephany  |  March 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Hi, I wanted to share with you my favorite banana bread recipe.

    Banana Wheat Germ Quick Bread
    It’s from The Joy of Cooking cookbook

    Preheat oven to 350
    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    (or 1 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup wheat germ for wheat germ Banana bread Really good)
    2 1/4 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. salt
    blend with:
    1/3 c. shortening (I use applesauce)
    2/3 c. sugar
    3/4 t. grated lemon peel (from 1 or two lemons)
    beat in:
    1-2 beaten eggs
    1 – 1 1/4 c. ripe mashed bananas

    you can fold in (1/2 c. chopped nuts) and or (1/4 c. finely chopped apricots)
    Place the batter in a greased bread pan. Bake the bread for about 1 hour or until done. Cool before slicing.

    Reply
  • 5. Bake: Basic Banana Bread « A Seattle Lunchbox  |  March 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    [...] Adapted from 17 and Baking [...]

    Reply
  • 6. Jackie  |  May 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Attempted this today since the bananas had gone beyond spotting and into fullout brown mode. Super easy to make and smells heavenly! Can’t wait for this loaf to be gone so I can make another one. Luckily, I don’t think it’ll be a long wait at all.

    Reply
  • 7. Jayne  |  June 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    You know, I tried several banana bread recipes that needed egg whites to be whipped to stiff peaks, butter that needs to be creamed…. the works.

    They never turn out moist and soft!

    Then last week, my brother who is back from Scotland for his summer holidays asked me to teach him how to bake banana cake. I was jittery but then plucked *some* recipe and started making it. It turned out dry and hard.

    I promised him I’ll try to look for a simpler recipe esp for beginners (no whipping egg whites or creaming butter!!). I found Elise’s from your site. And bake I did this morning.

    Oh my… this is the most beautiful banana cake I’ve ever made. I even took your advise to cover the top with rolled oats, because it makes the cake look prettier. I made half the batter in a tiny loaf pan and the other half into 6 small-ish cupcakes. I would cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup the next time but this cake, the texture is just perfect :-). I wanted to comment both here and on Elise’s site but her post on this cake is now closed for comments. Here it is then, to sing praises of a lovely pretty freshly made banana cake, fit for beginners and experts (like you!).

    Reply
  • 8. Katrina  |  August 2, 2010 at 12:08 am

    I absolutely love this recipe! I first came across it on Elise’s site and since then I’ve been using it. My family absolutely loves it.
    However, I did make some very slight changes. Instead of 3/4 cup sugar, I go down to 1/2 since I use very ripe bananas and it’s sweet enough as it is. I generally use 5-6 bananas and I bake for 53 minutes.
    This banana bread is amazing with chopped walnuts or plain!

    Reply
  • 9. Chloe  |  October 6, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Hey! I made this for the first time the other day, it ws fantastic! My dad is a huge banana anything fan, so he was in love! When I made it, I only had 2 half rotten bananas, and I thought it would make it a bit funny, so I muddled around with the mesurements a bit, it was great. Then I made it again yesterday, for Mum to freze, but with the proper mesurments entailed here. It was still good, and I even used it with fresh bananas, but I found it was very… gluggy. All heavy in some bits, then light in others. I am about to make another one for a barbeque tomorrow, and I am going to try it with two bananas again. :)

    Reply
  • 10. Victoria  |  November 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I loved the idea of making banana bread that I had to make my famous banana bread. But I do like the oat flakes on top to give it a more creative look. I didn’t have any today but will definitely try it out next time. Thanks!

    Reply
  • 11. Isabel Kitchen  |  February 2, 2011 at 2:14 am

    I have been wanting to bake banana bread for a long while now but I just haven’t found a recipe that truly convinces me. When I think of banana bread I think of the ultimate moist cake and I can tell yours was just from looking at the picture, break me a piece! Beautiful.

    Reply
  • 12. Jae  |  March 20, 2011 at 10:55 am

    this was amazing. I just made it (I subbed 1/2 the buttah for the applesauce and put in about half the sugar with a tbsp of honey and it rocked my socks off <3 ) oh yeah, I made a double batch too.
    Needless to say, Its good for diabetic patients :) Thanks for the great recipie!

    Reply
  • 13. Explora Cuisine  |  March 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Definitely going to try your recipe, looks divine!

    Reply
  • 14. Jasmine  |  April 5, 2011 at 3:59 am

    I have tried so many banana bread recipes. Thanks for providing a new one to try out. Good luck with Gulliver’s Travels.

    Reply
  • 15. Catherine  |  July 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Hi Elissa, I just made this bread, and I followed the directions exactly, except I added a small bag of walnuts and cut the sugar down to half a cup. Like many others, I’ve tried quite a few banana bread recipes, but this is probably the one I’m going to stick with. Haven’t tasted it yet because it’s still cooling, but I’m sure it’ll taste great. it looks amazing!! Thanks so much!!

    Reply
  • 16. Saskia  |  July 7, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    hey, I am also a HUGE banana bread fan (or cake or muffins I basicly use the same recipe I just bake it in different pans)

    anyway I recently rediscovered it after kind of forgetting its heavenly existence and I decided to be a bit adventurous by adding espresso (I’m kind of a coffee nut and I read somewhere that it would be a good combination) and the taste was just so harmonious I ended up baking it twice that week

    sorry I’m rambling again. my point is: add a shot or two of espresso the nxt time you make banana bread it goes together like PB and jam!!

    Reply
  • 17. Caitlin  |  September 14, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I just made this recipe after I got back from
    class this afternoon. I used Almond flour instead, with 2 Tbsp on Special Dark Cocoa from Hershey’s and a 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips…it was absolutely to die for! I had to hide it from myself so i’d have some left to take home to my parents this weekend! Great recipe! :D

    Reply
  • 18. Nick  |  November 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Hi, hope you read comments on old posts. Will it be fine if I use Self raising flour here and skip the baking soda and plain flour? Can I substitute the butter with 1/3 cup light olive oil or veg oil?

    Reply
  • 19. Sara  |  November 24, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Just tried this banana bread and its absolutely fabulous! From the baking process (super easy) to the eating (super yummy!). I had been craving a good banana bread for about a week and I finally got around to baking one. Thanks for posting this amazing recipie.

    Reply
  • 20. likeaphatkidlovescake  |  April 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    This is quite possibly the best banana bread recipe I’ve made! I did substitute AP flour for whole wheat and the oats for turbinado sugar to form a crunchy yet sweet crust. Thanks Elissa! Please begin to blog more — I deeply miss your posts!

    Reply
  • 21. Petrichor  |  November 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    so gonna try this tomorrow! thank you

    Reply

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Elissa Bernstein



I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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