The banana...unpeeled

The banana…unpeeled

It is my habit, when searching for really good recipes on the web, to add the word “best” or “best-ever” in front of the topic, so that I can find recipes that food bloggers are truly passionate about. Of course, the term “best” implies that there are no better recipes to be found in this category.  In the world.  Ever.

Can there possibly be more than one “best?”Evidently so. There are many BEST-EVER meatloaf, BEST-BEST-EVER spaghetti sauce, and certainly BEST-IN-THE-WORLD barbecue ribs recipes. I have to believe, however, that the largest numbers of “BEST,” “BEST-EVER!” and “BEST IN THE WORLD!!!” recipes are found in the banana bread category.

So much passion! My dear husband suggested that I call this article, “Is that a banana bread in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”

I have to believe that each author is sincere in the conviction that their recipes are the best. It comes down to personal preferences—How moist? How sweet? Should there be nuts? Do you avoid butter? What are your childhood memories of banana-bread-past? Do you avoid recipes that have too many ingredients? And what about the addition of other ingredients—Chopped apple? Mincemeat?

If you are a banana-only purist, you might run screaming in the other direction from my own personal best mincemeat banana bread recipe below. And I would say that perhaps you take yourself too seriously. It’s only banana bread.

Today I am faced with two full bunches of over-ripe, pondering whether to try a recipe that has been declared as the best by others, or to stick with my own, beloved tried and true. My research is taking me hours (so many superlatives!), and I’ve narrowed options down to a few “BEST” recipes, which I hope will appeal to the full range of personalities who may read this blog. Except vegans. Sorry.

Flour’s Famous Banana Bread (slightly modified) An adaptation of a blog recipe adapted from a recipe from Boston’s Flour Bakery+Café

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

½ cup melted or browned butter

4 bananas, very ripe, mashed

2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined 9”loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Make muffins with the rest. Or put all the batter into a bundt pan.

World’s BEST Banana Bread – No Kidding! At least according to the blog called “the fine art of confectionary”

First, butter a non-stick bread pan, then flour well. Combine and mix well the following dry ingredients in a bowl:

2 cups AP flour

¾ cup sugar

½ cup toasted coarsely chopped walnuts

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

In another medium bowl, coarsely smash 3 ripe bananas and gently add:

2 large eggs, beaten

6 Tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently FOLD until the flour is thoroughly moistened. Pour into the prepared bread pan and spread the mixture evenly across the top. Bake in a preheated 350-degree (F) oven for 45-50 minutes.

Moist Banana Bread From the blog called The Redhead Riter, by Sherry Riter

½ cup butter, softened 1 cup sugar, white 3 eggs, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 2/3 cup flour, sifted 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup mashed bananas ½ cup sour cream ½ cup pecans, chopped

  1. Combine butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda and salt.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add banana, sour cream and nuts.
  5. Mix until combined.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool in the pan on a wired rack.

The Best Banana Bread (Ever) From the blog called The Pescetarian and the Pig

First, the Banana Bread Part

2 C flour

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 C chopped walnuts

½ C unsalted butter, softened

¾ C brown sugar

2 eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

4 overripe bananas

Next, the Crumbly Top

1 Cup Banana Bread Batter

⅛ Cup Flour

1 tsp. Cinnamon

½ Cup Brown Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. In medium bowl, blend together butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and bananas, unmashed, one at a time

3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.

4. Fold in walnuts and then scoop out 1 cup of this batter and set aside.

5. Using the 1 Cup of reserved batter, mix in the flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Pour plain batter into a loaf pan, then spread the crumbly layer batter evenly on top. You can sprinkle extra brown sugar and walnuts on top if you wish.

6. Put it in the oven for 1 hr and 15 minutes to 1 hr 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Foodie-san’s Own Best-Ever Mincemeat Banana Bread

This is one that I adapted over 40 years ago from a Buddhist church fundraiser cookbook.

Throw-down, smack down! I featured this recipe in my 1974 cookbook, “Dishes of My Life Together,” and at the time proclaimed in as “the best banana bread you will ever eat.” I still feel that way, although over the years have encountered many other quite reputable banana breads. All are special in their own way, but not as special as mine.

1. Cream together 1 ½ C sugar with 2 blocks of soft butter

2. Stir in 4 eggs, one at a time and add 1T vanilla

3. Combine with a dry mixture of 2 ½ C flour, 3 ½ t baking soda and 1 t salt

4. Add 1 medium chopped apple, ¾ C mincemeat, ½ C chopped walnuts and 2 C mashed bananas

5. Mix it all together, put into 2 greased and floured loaf pans, and bake for an hour at 350 degrees.

Done. Or you could try….

Banana Mincemeat Bread

from the website grouprecipes.com

2-1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 cup salad oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2-1/2 cups mashed bananas 1 cup mincemeat

1/2 cup chopped macadamia

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Grease and flour two loaf pans.
  3. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda.
  4. In large mixing bowl combine oil and sugar then add eggs and mix well.
  5. Blend in bananas, mincemeat and nuts then add flour gradually to mixture.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared pans and bake for 1 hour.