My mom made a lot of delicious banana bread when I was growing up. In her typical fashion, she never made the same recipe twice so, while I can’t remember a bad loaf, she doesn’t have her ‘signature’ recipe. I do the same thing-constantly tweaking recipes and making substitutions but, when it comes to my banana bread, I’ve got a recipe that works and I’m sticking to it.
The first version of the recipe came from this Martha Stewart Cookbook, published 13 years ago. It has evolved from its original state and I love where it has ended up.
The recipe makes one loaf but, it doubles just fine. I find bringing a fresh baked loaf to a dinner party as a ‘hostess gift’ scores you big points.
Whenever I have bananas getting a little too ripe, I throw them in my freezer. They’ll turn dark brown on the outside but, they are perfect for banana bread. Just take them out to thaw on the counter and you’re ready to go. If you love good chocolate, you can also try the recipe with chopped up chunks of Scharffen Berger chocolate…mmm…that’s good!
½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1½ cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
½ cup sour cream or buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped pecans or chopped Scharffen Berger chocolate (at least 62% cacao-that’s dark!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat to incorporate.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nuts, and pour into prepared pan.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.