Banana Bread

- Merrill

My mother used to make banana bread all the time when I was growing up, and it was one of the treats we most looked forward to. Tender, with a crisp, brown crust and an intense banana flavor, it was just the thing for breakfast, or toasted and thickly buttered with a hot cup of tea.

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She got the recipe from an old community cookbook called Forum Feasts (see my post on a recipe for chocolate cake with orange icing from the same book here) -- I've cut back on the sugar a little, but otherwise it remains the same. It keeps well for a few days, and if you wrap it tightly in foil and plastic wrap, you can freeze it for several weeks with no side effects.

Banana Bread

Adapted from Forum Feasts

Makes one 2-pound loaf

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
  • 3 large, ripe bananas
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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jlhogan January 31, 2013
I've been looking for a good banana bread recipe as my two-year old often decides he won't eat bananas after we've purchased a whole bunch for his consumption. This recipe is perfect--it's easy, very forgiving, and delicious. I usually add in about 1/2 cup of low fat greek yogurt, a tsp of vanilla and used half and half WW and AP flour.
gingerroot March 22, 2011
Thanks for another fabulous recipe, Merrill! I had forgotten how amazing banana bread smells while it is baking -- absolutely heavenly. I subbed agave (1/3 cup) because I was actually out of sugar. This is my new go-to banana bread.
Susan A. March 22, 2011
Forum Feasts is such a treasure. At The Record in Bergen County, NJ, where I am the food editor, we just did a fun piece on this and other great community cookbooks. Here's the (shortened) link: What about a food52 contest using recipes from these books?
MonkeyBusiness March 21, 2011
I think I had that same book....was it green and white with a plastic binding? I used it so much that the binding broke....I lost it sometime in one of my many moves. The mere mention of that book brought back so many memories of my early cooking. I did pause, however, at the realization that I am indeed old enough to be your Mother!
Wendiamm March 21, 2011
I made this bread and it is sooo good! My only problem is that it didn't rise well, I followed the recipe and am not sure what I could do differently next time, any suggestions?
Sally March 20, 2011
Hey! I use to have that book, too...I wonder what ever happened to it? I often forget about banana bread, but it really is an old, tried and true standby. I recently made it again after a long break (must be something in the air!) and added some chocolate covered walnuts, an idea inspired by Jess Thomson. So to add to the list of variations: and

I also freeze bananas, peeled and wrapped individually in plastic and use them in banana bread and smoothies. Next time I'll make your version, Merrill--it sounds great!
David S. March 20, 2011
You should try adding a handful of shredded sweetened coconut (not sure exactly what a handful constitutes, maybe 1/2 cup?). It adds a nice tropical flavor and helps keep the banana bread nice and moist. I also sprinkle the top of my bread with some cinnamon/sugar.
Susan B. March 15, 2011
This recipe looks great! Unfortunately, as my kids grew up they decided they don't like bananas anymore. However, they will still eat banana bread as long as it's not too banana-y. My solution to that is to mash up one banana (preferably a rather large one) and then make up the volume difference with unsweetened applesauce. They love it made this way, particularly if I add cinnamon or cinnamon chips to the bread. I may have to make your recipe for myself :) . Thanks for sharing it with us, Merrill!
slothrop March 15, 2011
I saw this and had this Pavlovian response--I immediately made it, just in time to have a piece with an afternoon espresso. Delicious, not too sweet. We'll try not to eat it all right now!
Kitchen B. March 15, 2011
I love 'Pavlovian responses'!
MotherWouldKnow March 15, 2011
Thanks for sharing your recipe. Here is mine, developed with friends at college too many years ago. When they were little, my kids asked me to put chocolate chips in mine and now I always add them. It's great to see how many variations there are -your post and these comments give us all a veritable gold mine of banana bread recipes to choose from. @MotherWouldKnow
CalcuttaChow March 15, 2011
this delicious photo made me hungry for banana bread! I have a favorite, time-tested banana chocolate chip bread recipe that i'd like to share. It's really love at first bite, i promise.

Merrill S. March 15, 2011
Thanks for sharing, and for your interest -- I'd love to hear what you think of this recipe.
SharonP March 15, 2011
I love banana bread and posted a recipe for it on my blog a few months ago,

Merrill S. March 15, 2011
You're welcome!