It is the truth universally acknowledged that there is no better bread than that which is made of banana. There are rare exceptions, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t melt at the sight of a fresh, warm, soft slice of homemade banana bread. With butter, with honey, with nothing at all — who cares? If it’s there, it’s going in your mouth.
Now that we’re clear on what is the finest of all bread products, you’re probably itching to make some of your own. There are many different variations on this classic treat, so we did our research (our job is super hard, you guys), and the result was this simple recipe that makes the best banana bread we’ve ever had. And we’ve had a lot of banana bread.
The tools? A bowl, a pan, a spoon. The ingredients? Just as basic. The best part? You’ll be cutting the first slice in an hour, max. We’d never make you wait longer than that.
What You’ll Need
1 stick salted butter
½ cup light-brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
3 large overripe bananas (or 4 medium)
2 cups cake flour
½ tbsp. coarse sugar (like cane or Demerara sugar) for topping
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt butter and mix in sugars and baking soda until well combined.
Everything yummy starts with butter...
...and a little sugar.
No lumps, please!
Step 2: Crack in eggs, then add baking soda, and vanilla. Mix well.
Step 3: Slice up bananas and add them to the mix (if they’re really ripe, just smoosh them out of the peel – no one’s looking). Next, add walnuts (feel free to do less or more to your preference).
This recipe works well even if your bananas aren't totally brown. Sometimes, you just can't wait for brown bananas!
We like to toast the walnuts for extra flavor, before adding them to the mix. You can do this while your oven is preheating by spreading them on a baking sheet and popping them in for about 5-7 minutes. You'll smell a strong, nutty fragrance when they're done.
Mix and mash your batter until it’s a thick, lumpy mixture. Lumps are good in this case.
Step 4: Add flour. Cake flour is the secret ingredient here. (Your grocery store has it, really. Check by the cake mixes.) It’s finely milled and makes the bread turn out both dense and fluffy. Every bite feels like it’s literally melting in your mouth.
Now, mix mix mix!
When the flour is totally combined, pour batter into a lightly greased loaf pan.
Step 6: The final flourish. Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the batter. This gives your already-awesome banana bread a crunchy, almost-caramelized top.
Pop it in the oven for 45 minutes. You can test the loaf with a knife in the center, but don’t rely on the old when-the-knife-comes-out-clean trick. You’ll have a little goo because, well, hot banana is gooey.
You’ll know your loaf is done when it’s dark golden brown and cracked along the top. Also, when your house smells AMAZING.
Now that you've mastered one of life's essential skills, share the wealth! But first, enjoy your new favorite breakfast.
Photographed by Chris Baker