I know, I know: I posted a recipe for banana bread about two months ago. But I subscribe to the belief that one can never have too many banana bread recipes in one’s arsenal.
The great thing about banana bread is that all you really need is a bunch of old, mushy bananas. I like mine made with some buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt — but like with most things, I’m not picky. Then all you need are your “staples” and from there, it’s up to you. Toss in spices — cinnamon, cardamom, cloves — or goodies like nuts, chocolate chips or dried fruit. Oats, whole wheat flour, candied ginger — the sky’s the limit.
I’ve found that you can make banana bread moist and deliciously decadent without using a cup of butter or oil. Bananas themselves provide a lot of moisture and sweetness in baked goods, and small amounts of acidic fats like yogurt and sour cream add tenderness without a lot of guilt.
This Plain Jane version of banana bread is nothing fancy — no coconut, no toasted nuts, no hunks of dark chocolate — but it’s delicious. Like many banana bread recipes, it’s the result of a bunch of black and mushy bananas that had to go and some ingredients lingering in my fridge that I needed to use up. In my experience, sour cream makes a mean banana bread, and in this case, you only need a 1/4 cup to create a tender and delicious loaf.
Feel free to make this banana bread your own — add chopped dark chocolate, or toasted walnuts, or poppy seeds. At the very least, this recipe might inspire you to whip out your own favorite banana bread recipe. You can never have too many.
Pretty Plain Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with non-stick spray.
Combine the flours, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl, mixing well to combine.
Combine the sugars and butter in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is well combined, light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the bananas, sour cream and vanilla and beat until the mixture is blended. Add the flour mixture and mix on low just until the flour disappears into the batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 50 minute to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the loaf in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: A 9″ x 5″ loaf