Make Ahead

Espresso Banana Bread

February 20, 2014
Author Notes

After re-discovering The Jumpin' Monkey, coffee and banana smoothie, I've been a believer in the combination of espresso and banana. It's just good. I've had an intense craving for banana bread the past two weeks, but bananas that weren't ripe enough. Ahhhh, the wait. Terrible. But, finally I was able to make banana bread, and I decided to add some espresso to the batter. It's subtle and yummy, and would be particularly good with chocolate chips, if you like chocolate chips in your banana bread, but is also awfully good without. This banana bread recipe is based on Joanne Chang's (I almost always start my baking with a look at how Chang makes something!) and the recipe on Smitten Kitchen, which I believe she got from Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes. —fiveandspice

  • Makes one 9x5 loaf
Ingredients
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature (the temp here is important because a cold egg will congeal the oil/butter)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, or creme fraiche, or Greek yogurt
  • 2 ounces shot of espresso (or absurdly strong coffee)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or melted, unsalted butter)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (whole wheat pastry flour would also work well)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9X5-inch loaf pan. In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir the mashed bananas together with the egg, sour cream, espresso, and vanilla extract, until everything is well combined. Stir in the instant espresso granules (you can omit these if you want, but if you use only brewed espresso, the bread will have a very subtle coffee flavor -- adding instant espresso as well pumps up the coffee flavor. I think it's good both ways.)
  2. Next, stir in the melted oil/butter until it is completely incorporated. Follow this by stirring in the sugar until everything is well mixed.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Dump this mixture into the wet ingredients and stir just until there are no dry streaks left. The batter will still be lumpy. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the oven until a tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean, about one hour.
  4. Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the loaf pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge of the bread and turn it out of the pan. Finish cooling the bread on a cooling rack. I think the flavor of banana bread gets better if you let it sit for a while, but who can help themselves from having at least one piece while it's still warm, right? But, it'll be even better on day two! Accompanied by espresso! Because espresso is good.

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Review
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.