One of those foods that feels like home.
I feel fortunate that when I was a child my mom made many homemade dishes, especially for our snacks and treats. Sure, there were cakes made from box mixes, but there also were made from scratch cookies, fruit crisps, and quick breads. Many of these foods make me think of my mom and helping her in the kitchen.
As a child, I know I didn’t appreciate the quick breads and muffins as much as the cookies. How could banana or zucchini bread be as yummy as chocolate chip or sugar cookies? It didn’t seem possible. Banana bread was fine for the adults, but I would’ve rather had something from a dessert category.
For me, my appreciation for quick breads and muffins changed during adulthood. Rather than being the second choice, they became more of a go-to item. Need something to bring to the office? Banana bread works. Want to drop off a small thinking of you item? How about mini loaves of zucchini bread. Have a lazy Sunday morning in store? Yes, bake some sort of quick bread while you lounge and drink coffee.
Banana bread is definitely high on my list of quick breads. First, as noted above, it does taste like my childhood. Second, it may be one of the most useful recipes in that it allows you to use browning bananas in a flavorful way, rather than discarding them. Finally, it makes your home smell absolutely delicious.
A few preparation notes:
- The nuts are optional. However, I love the contrast in texture they provide: tender banana bread + crunchy walnuts = success.
- This bread is best served warm. I’d suggest letting it sit on a cooling rack for 10 minutes after being removed from the pan and then slice it.
- Definitely top it with salted butter. It provides yet another element of contrast with the salty and sweet commingling.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/3 cups mashed banana, about 3
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1-3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Spray the sides and bottom of one 9×5 loaf pan and one mini loaf pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on speed 2 for 2 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate.
- Add vanilla and banana, and beat for an additional minute.
- In a separate bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer, combining on lowest speed.
- Add walnuts, stirring to incorporate.
- Transfer batter to prepared pans.
- Bake small loaf for 30 minutes and large loaf for 50-60 minutes or until tester placed in center comes out clean.
- Cool in pan on baking rack for 10 minutes.
- Remove from pan, and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- At the end of baking, the larger loaf may need to be covered with foil to prevent overbrowning while the center cooks.