Bananas for banana bread

For Father’s Day this year, I wanted to bake something that was simple, easy to eat for my father and Jason’s grandfather. So I opted for my go-to banana bread. It was a recipe that my friend Cathy sent me back in 2006. It was Tyler Florence’s banana bread with pecans. She made it for a dinner party and I loved it.

I use an adapted version because my father doesn’t like nuts and grandpa can’t eat them. I also use ripe bananas, so I cut down the sugar. Lastly, I go easy on the butter because the banana bread is typically moist.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 overripe bananas
  • 1 cup sugar (I use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I use only 3/4 of a stick – 6 tablespoons)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped (Optional)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (I typically skip this last coat of sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

5. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don’t get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that’s no mistake, it’s typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning.

6. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Toast the slices of banana bread, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve.

Banana Bread in Le Creuset Terrine

In step 5, Tyler bakes for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. My loaves typically bake in 45 minutes when I use a long, thin loaf pan like this one above from Le Creuset. It’s really a terrine, but it dubs well as a loaf pan. I also use mini loaf pans to make loaves for gifts, and those typically only take 30 minutes to bake. Once cooled you can wrap in unbleached parchment paper and some bakers twine for a neat gift.

Banana bread wrapped with bakers twine

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