Banana bread has become one of my standbys – takes very little prep time or energy, and generally tastes pretty damn good no matter the time of year. I’ve played with making banana bread muffins, recently branched into banana scones… Whoever first developed banana bread had a really good idea.
That being said, once I came across the recipe I presently use, I hadn’t really branched out or futzed with it because it is that good. That is, until this week. As Thursday was 4th of July, I had the day off and didn’t really have to bake. knowing I had the day off, I didn’t give much thought to baking, making sure I have ingredients, or anything of that sort. I was running low on butter anyway, so I thought I would forego the process for this week.
Luckily, I was invited to a barbecue. My first thought: AWESOME BBQ! My second thought: what should I bring? My host had no particular preference, so it was up to me to come up with something awesome. I really really really really wanted to use the last of my butter and try making roti buns, and I did…. but that became quite the aborted attempt when they decided to not rise properly. I may have over-kneaded the dough, or I might have failed with the yeast, I don’t really know – that will be retried again in the near future. It left me scrambling, though. I could try muffins, but it would be chocolate and I had already made tons of chocolate muffins in the last couple of months… So bananas it was. I unburied my trusty banana bread recipe, and found that I had approximately half an over-ripe banana more than I needed. Instead of putting it back in the fridge to let sadden, I tossed it in; half a banana can’t hurt, right?
Oh…was I correct on that one! That half-banana made just enough of a difference with the moisture that even though the loaves were sliced and placed on a platter and generally sat around half the day waiting to be eaten, they were still moist! The bread falls apart just a bit more easily with the extra moisture, at least when you’re slicing them up straight out of the oven (it was smelling so good that Mikal insisted we have some… oh buttons, so good).
So, the following is the reworked recipe. I have baking times for both loaves and muffins, so I will put that in too.
Adapted from Sweet Amandine
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large overripe bananas – approx. 1 1/2 cups
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 tbsp packed golden brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tbsp flour
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a metal loaf pan, or line a muffin tin with liners. Spray liners with cooking spray if you do not want to watch people licking at the liner to get all the yummy goodness off.
In a large bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, eggs, vegetable oil, honey and water together until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined. Stir in the 1/2 cup walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
For the topping, mix together granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Fork in the room-temperature butter until decently incorporated – you’ll have a moist clumpish substance. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts over the loaves/muffins, and top with the buttery clumps. This helps to adhere the nuts to the top so that they don’t fall off as easily should you slice the loaf and present it, or when you’re moving the muffins.
If making loaves, bake the bread for about 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean. IF USING METAL LOAF PANS check at about 45 minutes, and keep an eye out thereafter – I have noticed that the bread will take on a distinctly browned flavor if I just let it go for the whole hour or so. If making muffins, bake for 20-23 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. If making mini-muffins, bake for 15 minutes.