Camille’s Famous Banana Bread
I’m pretty famous for my banana bread. I seem to accrue absurd amounts of fruits after I visit Wesleyan’s dining halls, bananas and apples mostly. My housemates do the same thing and we always end up with a freezer full of bananas and ten more lying around the kitchen, waiting for their turn.
I’m famous for my banana bread, because it’s delicious duh, and because it’s my go-to potluck/meeting/I-have-a-class-presentation-and-I-really-want-to-impress-the-professor thing to make. It’s a good crowd pleaser, you can change it up depending on your audience or how you’re feeling that day (chocolate? nuts? more streusel? only have three bananas and not four?).
Of all the things I make, this is the one I make the best. I can make it with just eyeballing the ingredients. The recipe I’ve worked with old, I’ve had it since high-school and I don’t recall where I got it from. The one I’m sharing now is the one I use, with all my little changes and adaptations. My family likes whole wheat, so I put in a lot of whole wheat flour. I sometimes go 25/75 with the whole wheat, but start with the ratio here first and see if you like it. I don’t like sugary treats so this bread is sweet enough for tea, which is sweet enough for me (yay it rhymes).
Whether your bananas are from the store or contraband from your local university, it’s hard to go wrong with this quick bread. If you love this recipe, I highly recommend you play around with it and see how you can change it for you! Try leaving out the egg, or maybe use oil instead of butter, or use honey instead of sugar — this bread is now yours.
Makes one 8-in by 4-in loaf
4 very ripe medium-sized bananas
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark, plus a tablespoon more for topping
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 8-in by 4-in loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper.
Mix together the dry ingredients: flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, and chocolate or nuts if you’re using.
In a microwavable bowl, melt the stick of butter. Mix in the sugars, egg, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mash 3 of the bananas until soft and wet. Yep, you’re leaving one banana untouched for now. Add the banana mush to the butter mixture and stir until well-blended (but banana chunks are okay!)
Combine the wet and dry mixtures together, as well as the chocolate chips and nuts if you are using them. Try not to over-mixture but do make sure you get the last bits of flour (I seem to always have a mound of flour stuck at the bottom). Pour the dough into your prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top if necessary.
Take your last banana and cut into small, diagonal slices. Arrange these slices on the top of the bread for some tasty aesthetics. Take your remaining tablespoon of brown sugar and sprinkle it on top of the dough.
Bake for 50-55 minutes. Turn the pan around once the baking hits the 30 minute mark. In the last 10 minutes, begin checking for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the dough — it should come out clean.
Once finished, take the bread out and let cool in the pan for a minute. Then immediately remove it and place on a drying rack to finish cooling. Let your banana bread cool to room temperature but let’s be honest here, it’s a delight when it’s still piping hot.