Don’t throw your extra ripe bananas away! Or curse yourself for once again buying more organic groceries than you can use (or afford).
While Amy Burns the Recipe Book is all about showing you how to spruce up and healthify your favorite dishes, there are some recipes, published decades ago and perfected by your Grams that need no tweaking.
I got this banana bread recipe from a battered copy of The Joy of Cooking (first published in 1931!) that my Grandma Loraine passed down to me with the following words scrawled inside the cover: “My dear Amy, I hope you enjoy cooking these recipes as much as I have.” If you’ve ever perused They Joy of Cooking you know there aren’t any vibrant pictures of spicy ethnic cuisine. Hell, there are no pictures, and there sure isn’t a recipe for curried dahl. Nevertheless, I cherish my copy because it came from the lady who inspired my passion for cooking, and the recipes contained within are classics.
Banana bread never goes out of style. It will forever remain one of those dishes that make you sigh when you take your first bite as you remember what your mom’s house used to smell like when it was baking.
I’ve made this recipe probably more than any other. I have it memorized. I could make it blind folded with one hand tied behind my back. It was uber popular with my family and friends 15 years ago when I first started making it, but I’ve always kept my eyes and bananas peeled for a better recipe. You know, a fancied up one with orange zest or maybe some cardamom. A couple of years ago I stopped the search. There is no better banana bread, in my opinion. And believe me, I’ve research, I’ve tested, I’ve tasted. This is it.
It pleases me more than I’m willing to admit that although this recipe is without question a classic, it’s also a little unique. Anyone who has ever baked knows there a pretty standard formula repeated in nearly every recipe: blend the wet ingredient and then slowly mix in the dry. This recipe switches up it a bit, and I swear, it produces the most crispy, caramelized crust and an incredibly moist and tender center.
Note: this banana bread is one that you can eat for breakfast and not feel guilty. It’s lightly sweet, and I feel really good about the fact that it has very little flour or sugar. It’s chock full of super ripe bananas and hearty walnuts so it’ll keep you full until lunch. That being said, I’ve been known to dress my banana bread up with a generous smear of butter and a drizzle of honey for a late night treat. If you want to go all dessert-y on it, I would recommend heating it up for 10 seconds in the microwave and then topping it with a little ice cream and/or caramel. Now that I’m thinking about it, you could even dredge the bread in an egg wash and make some banana French toast for a decadent Sunday breakfast.
As I mentioned, I didn’t come up with this recipe on my own. Some pioneering wife and/or test kitchen employee at The Joy of Cooking created this innovative technique and generations of home cooks will forever be indebted. I’m sharing it with you here because it’s the best, and you should definitely know about it, and you probably don’t have a copy of the Joy of Cooking collecting dust on your bookshelf.
I’ve made a very few minor adjustments to the recipe over the years, but truth be told, it’s the bomb just as it was written all those years ago. And so I say this, “My dear foodies, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have. Love, Amy”
Are you ready to get started making this recipe but lacking a few essential tools? Head over to our shop page to pick up everything you need to make this recipe a success!
A classic inspired by The Joy of Cooking. There is no better banana bread, in my opinion.
- 3 really ripe bananas The more ripe the bananas, the sweeter your bread. Don’t be scuuured.
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 5 1/3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped, optional
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips optional: I usually omit the chocolate, unless it’s been a really rough week
Preheat oven to 350° and position rack in lower third of oven. Butter a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.
Mash really ripe bananas with a fork and set aside.
Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small container and whisk or sift together thoroughly.
In a mixer bowl, beat the softened butter, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until the mixtures is light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Pour the flour mixture into the butter/sugar bowl in three parts, blending on low speed until just combined with each addition. When the flour is entirely incorporated the mixture will look dry and crumbly. Be careful not to over mix.
Lightly beat the eggs in a separate dish and then add to the mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed until just combined.
Gently fold in the mashed bananas and walnuts until barely combined.
Pour the batter into the pan and lightly tap on the counter to even the surface and eliminate air bubbles. Bake the loaf for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5-10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely.