Tuesday, July 24, 2012

THE Best Banana Bread

Hello friends,

No, you did not misread that title. This is truly the best banana bread I've ever had the pleasure of baking and eating. I do love my Oreos, but after they inspired some kick-ass cookies and cupcakes, I was suddenly craving some serious warm, cozy, wholesome flavors that can only be administered by a well-baked banana bread.

But what recipe would ensure a satisfied craving? I began roaming through recipes, searching Pinterest and FoodGawker until I almost lost hope. Why does nearly every recipe I find have to be "Banana + other flavor I don't want detracting from my Banana Bread Bread"? Banana Coconut Bread, Banana Walnut Bread, I just want Banana Bread. Much like my feeling to carrot cake, I am a bit of a purist when it comes to this. Absolutely no nuts may permeate my bread, and I must really be in the mood for chocolate chips. No, when I bite into a piece of banana bread, I want pure, unadulterated banana flavor. No extracts or extras.

But then, on what I want to say was page eleven or twelve of my search on FoodGawker, I saw it. The Cook's Illustrated Recipe for Banana Bread. The link led me to "First Look then Cook" and wouldn't you know it, the method for preparing this bread sounded eerily similar to the preparation of a certain Banana Bread Snickerdoodle I attempted awhile back. My conclusion?

Microwaving Bananas, extracting the juices, then reducing them to a decadent banana syrup is by far one of the most awesome ideas I've ever encountered online. Merely mashing bananas? Please. Let's all step it up a bit here and take the sweet, syrupy plunge. It makes a world of a difference.

A side note though. After these photos, I've come to the realization that banana bread batter, unlike chocolate chip cookie dough or a fluffy vanilla frosting, does not look appetizing. At all. I could tell you what I think it looks like but, well, I'll leave that to your wonderful imagination.

Ah, that's better.

Do I dare tell you that I ate at least half of this loaf on my own, probably to the slight frustration of the rest of my family, also avid banana bread lovers? Do I tell you it is absolutely divine with a nice cup of hot coffee first thing in the morning? But I bet you already knew all of that...So bake, eat, enjoy; revel in the delicious flavor of this banana bread and share it (or not!) with all your friends. You'll be glad you did!

Happy Baking!

Cook's Illustrated Banana Bread
Via FirstLookthenCook

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
4-5 large, peeled, very ripe bananas
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease one 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with cooking spay.
2. Place bananas in microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 2-5 minutes, until the bananas give off about 1/3 cup liquid. Transfer bananas to fine-meshed strainer over a small saucepan. Let drain for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl and set aside.
4. Once bananas have drained, place bananas into large bowl and set the saucepan with the banana liquid over medium-high heat, allowing to reduce to about 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes).
5. Pour banana liquid over bananas and mash together until you reach a relatively uniform consistency. Whisk in eggs, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla.
6. Fold flour mixture into banana mixture, being careful not to over-mix. A few streaks of flour are okay.
7. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, sprinkle 2 tsp of sugar over top, and bake at 350 for 55-75 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.


  1. There's nothing like plain old banana bread. YUM!

  2. This looks like the best banana bread great blog!

  3. This does look like an insanely perfect bread :D

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. It was insanely delicious! Thanks Choc Chip Uru :)

  4. Looks like a pretty perfect banana bread to me. I have been making a lot of banana bread since I started my blog and I did so today too. Unfortunately... I had a big flop on my hands today... MAJOR!! I have to rework my recipe.... to make it look half as good as yours does. :)

    1. Thanks Ramona!

      and I'm sure it wasn't that major heehee. But I know you'll get it looking (and tasting) perfect in no time. :)

  5. This looks yummy! I think the secret is more bananas. Most recipes call for 3, the ones with more are always better. Great find!

    1. Thanks Emily!

      The recipe really calls for 5 but I only had 4 (shh dont tell!) but they were HUGE bananas so I think that's why it worked out. Thank goodness it did; this was so yummy I wish I made two loaves.

  6. Oh, my. You've definitely convinced me to try this recipe! Can't wait.

  7. I am going to try this recipe for some weekend baking :) Great blog too!