Banana Nut Bread


I was able to use 7 of the bananas for the banana tart, however this left me another 20 or so to go. Though I had planned to avoid banana bread, I had to use all 20 remaining bananas before Friday as 1) they were ripening quickly, and 2) I knew I wouldn’t be home this weekend. I had wanted to try some banana-filled crepes from my English cookbook (it features fun European ingredients you just can’t find here, ie: “digestive biscuits” or “vanilla-wine crackers”) but they would have required firmer bananas than those I currently had, and are more of a morning thing. Thus, banana nut bread it was!

A quick evaluation of proportions yielded the following fact: I was going to have to quintuple the recipe to accomodate all my remaining bananas. Considering the fact that I was making 5 batches of this thing at once, I thought it smarter- and more fun- to diversify (just in case one of the varieties was subpar)- thus I went for two. A look at the Food Network recipe archive brought me to this one, which had some of the highest marks from reviewers I’ve seen on the website (I wanted to find one with high confidence as I was forcibly making such a large quantity at once!)

Control: Bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg

Batch A (2x recipe): Almond extract, pecans, whole wheat flour, 1 hour baking time

Batch B (3x recipe): Vanilla extract, walnuts, white (AP) flour, 50 minutes baking time

Conclusions drawn:

  • The whole wheat breads rise less, thus a little extra baking powder/soda falling into the bowl isn’t a hardship. They also should probably have a shorter cooking time in the future to keep them moist.
  • It’s true: those incredibly ripe, mushy bananas yield the best texture. I’m now a believer in banana myths.
  • To be honest, I find little difference in the pecans and walnuts once cooked. In the future, I may not bother to differentiate.
  • The almond extract I used was rather strong- just a little over a tablespoon for 2 batches’ worth of bread changed the taste drastically.
  • The whole wheat breads were also far less sweet than the other variety. If you’re satisfying someone with a sweet tooth in making these, be sure to add a bit more sweetness to a WW variety.
  • Have multiple bowls ready! The sugar/egg/butter mixture must be done in its own bowl, the banana/milk/spice mixture in yet another, and the flour/salt/baking soda/baking powder in a third. I started using pasta pans and cake pans, as I needed 4 bowls and I only have two (good excuse to go bowl-shopping now)

I really followed this one rather closely with few substitutions, as all the comments I read claimed this was one of those rare recipes that is very enjoyable as-is. I brought some for the boyfriend (he loves banana nut bread), his neighbors (who, I’m proud to say, started digging in with their beautiful fingers (the boyfriend’s got some very attractive neighbors), and to work. So far everyone really enjoys it, and it’s quite simple, despite the need to keep ingredients separate, so… try it out and let me know your thoughts!

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