There’s something exceptionally comforting about banana bread. It’s got no pretenses; it doesn’t hide behind any frills. Other desserts sometimes look good but fall flat, but banana bread is not throwing any of that sort of trickery at you. It’s like the baked good equivalent of an un-retouched Facebook profile photo: You know what you’re getting.
A proper banana bread should be slightly sticky to the touch, promising a dense, moist interior. If it happens to sport a crackly dome of cinnamon sugar, so much the better.
I like to make a few different varieties of banana bread – I switch back and forth between two go-to favorites. One is studded with semisweet chocolate chips and candied ginger and topped with a sugared crust.
Oddly enough, it uses no butter or oil and is still more moist than any other version I’ve baked. More on that one soon (I’m really just using you guys as an excuse to bake more banana bread, but you don’t mind, do you?).
The other is a classic recipe made with whole wheat flour to give it a heft and density that all good banana breads should have. You can add chopped nuts if you like (toast them lightly first!), but I prefer my quick breads pure and unadulterated: just a straight hit of carbs, you know?
Now, let's get down to it. I highly recommend that you drop everything, go bake this, and then freeze it.
In a few weeks, when you are scrounging around desperately for some dessert, about to mainline some granulated sugar from the pantry, you will remember that you have this banana bread.
It's almost better frozen and toasted than it is plain -- just remember to slather a little butter on top. (I know that I am sounding suspiciously more and more like a spokesperson for the National Butter Council with every recipe I post. Sorry not sorry!)
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
Recipe from King Arthur Flour
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium bananas, mashed (they should be VERY RIPE)
1/4 cup honey
2 cups white whole wheat flour (you can also use regular whole wheat flour)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt, and mashed bananas. Carefully mix together -- it's okay if there are still some lumps of banana.
Add the honey and eggs and mix well.
Add the flour and mix until the batter is smooth (don't overmix).
Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 60 minutes (it might take closer to 65). Check the bread after 50 minutes and if it's browning too much on the top, you can tent it with aluminum foil for the last ten minutes or so.
Remove from the the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping it onto a wire rack to finish cooling.