I know there are a million recipes for banana bread out there, all of them claiming to be the best. I’ve tried many different variations over the years, from those made with whole wheat flour and flaxsseed to loaves that were chock-full of chocolate chips and peanut butter. They were all delicious. But there is one recipe that has traveled with me from coffeehouse to coffeehouse, and now is a staple in our home. I’ve given it a few adjustments over the years, but it hasn’t strayed much from the recipe we made at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse.
I’m not going to lie. It’s not on the healthy end of the spectrum, but it is rich and delicious, always moist, and full of banana flavor. And it’s the best.
Note: The trick to giving your banana bread a great flavor is to use very ripe bananas – the blacker the better. I like to freeze my peeled, ripe bananas in a freezer bag, and then move them from the freezer to the fridge the night before baking. As the bananas thaw, they leak a lot of banana juice. I put all the juice in a saucepan and cook it down to 1/4 cup (off heat, I’ll occasionally add 1 tablespoon of bourbon as well), After it has cooled, I add it to the batter along with the bananas. It makes for a very flavorful loaf. Makes one 8-inch loaf
1 1/2 cups (213g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (57g) pecan halves, toasted and chopped
1 cup very ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 bananas)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick; 113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (99g) packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan and line with a parchment sling.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and pecans together. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix on medium until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until almost incorporated. Add the banana mixture and mix on low until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and finish mixing with a spatula until the batter is completely combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 45 to 55 minutes, until the top is dark brown and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Using the parchment sling, lift the loaves out of the pan, peel off the paper, and let the bread finish cooling on the wire rack.