My four-year-old has a bee in his bonnet about banana bread. He has been asking me daily if we could make some. Well finally, on this snowy March Sunday, we had the right combination of spare time and brown-freckled bananas.
In the March issue of Bon Appetit, I remembered seeing a recipe for banana bread. I was interested to see what they had done to innovate this classic.
As someone who writes recipes, I’m always looking for interesting variations or ideas to make are recipe different, or my own. There are few truly original recipes, but many riffs on a theme. In order to stand out, bloggers and writers seek out ways to modernize, improve or ramp up flavor. Sometimes the results are a revelation, sometimes they are just strange.
The Bon Appetit article was written by Andrew McCarthy, Pretty in Pink heartthrob turned travel writer. I giggled when I saw the byline, because I distinctly remember an article several years ago he wrote for BA on finding the perfect Irish soda bread. It makes me smile to think of this eighties brat pack star roaming the far corners of the earth searching for incredible quick breads.
I was surprised to see the ingredients were as simple as banana bread could get. Flour, baking soda, salt, eggs, sugar, bananas and fat. No nuts, dried fruit or vanilla extract. Sometimes I try so hard to make a recipe different that I forget the basics are beautiful.
I did substitute warmed coconut oil for vegetable oil, just because that is what I had on hand.
This bread, a recipe from Julia’s small farm stand in the small Hawaiian town of Kahakuloa, has a dark, sticky exterior and a ultra-moist inside that is completely imbued with the essence of banana. The banana flavor rings true because there are no other flavors to overwhelm, just a supporting case of sweetness and a bit of salt for balance.
The house smelled like caramelized bananas, and we downed 2/3 of the loaf by afternoon. I’ve found my go-to banana bread recipe–Thanks Blane!
Julia’s Best Banana Bread
March 2013 Bon Appetit
makes 1 large loaf or three small
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe banans
3/4 cup vegetable or warmed coconut oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan, or three small 5×3 pans.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, mash bananas and whisk in oil and sugar. Whisk in eggs.
Add flour to bananas, and stir until just combined.
Scrape batter into loaf pan and smooth the top. For a single loaf, bake 60-70 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. The outside will get quite dark, but this is such a moist bread it has a long cooking time.
Let cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife along sides of the pan. Turn bread out onto a cooling rack. Bread will stay moist for 2-3 days, well-wrapped at room temperature.