If you're like me, banana bread is either fantastic or bleh. It's definitely my favourite quick bread. but I resent paying $7 for a loaf of the good stuff in a bakery when I know I could make it for half that if I had a good recipe. I have tried about a dozen different recipes and it seemed that no matter how I tweaked a bleh recipe...it stayed bleh.
Finally! I finally have the banana bread recipe of my dreams. I double most recipes, cause I've got a big crew to feed, but I've provided the recipe for a single batch. The banana flavour was divine and the chocolate chips instead of nuts made it school-friendly (you can also add neither!) It was had perfect moisture and texture: the two previously unresolvable issues with other recipes.
The thing with quick breads is you're not making cake. You can't beat it to death and still get the density you want in a quick bread. So here are the two most important things to know for making quick bread:
- the chemistry of baking soda/powder requires you to put your batter in as quickly after it is mixed as possible BUT only into a fully preheated oven. It is the soda/powder that cause your batter to rise so don't mess with it.
- when the recipe says to mix gently or until the dry is just wet; that's also for a reason! :) For your best results, you want to always follow these two steps when making muffins and quick breads (see my failure note below).
- 1 egg
- 1½ – 2 cups mashed banana (about 3-4 large)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup milk
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips (optional) or
- ½ cup chopped almonds (optional) or both!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8½- by 4½-inch loaf pan by greasing and flouring it.
- Beat the egg, mashed banana and melted butter together in a large bowl until thoroughly blended.
- Then stir in the milk. If you're like me and you use skim, you may want to add another teaspoon of melted butter to make up for the missing fat from the milk.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. You can sift it if you like, but it's not necessary.
- Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until just moistened. Don't overstir or your bread will be more like a cupcake. Gently stir in chocolate chips and/or nuts, if you're using them.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
By doubling my recipe, I managed to get a heavy (not dense though!) loaf and 18 medium muffins. I did forget to turn my oven up for the muffins (375 instead of 350), but they turned out okay. Muffins need the higher temp so the top will get the dome shape, mine ended up flat, that's all.
The only other issue was sticking to the paper liner, but that didn't stop us from licking and nibbling every morsel off!
If you're like me and you love banana bread, but are looking for the one recipe to keep in your recipe box, I would give this one 7 stars out of 5. It's already located in my Top 10 section!
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