This is the banana bread I'll always come back to. Maybe because I can get two flawless loaves in under 15 minutes of work. Maybe because I can tweak it with what's on hand (and haven't broken it yet). Or maybe because it's the one my mom's been making since I was a baby, so it just tastes like home.
Recipe adapted by Peggy Cooley, Susan Miglore, and Kristen Miglore from A Plan for All Seasons: A Menu Cookbook by the Stanford Junior Women of Pasadena. Here are a few other recommended riffs we’ve tried: sprinkling the nuts on top, swapping up to 25 percent of the all-purpose flour for a whole-grain flour, and decreasing or increasing the sugar slightly (the original recipe called for 2 cups, but Kristen decreased that to make room for the sugary topping). This particular iteration tastes even better on day two.
Hear more from Kristen on why this banana bread is the one she and her family always return to on The Genius Recipe Tapes. —Genius Recipes
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 45 minutes
- makes two 9x5-inch loaves
(226 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the pans
very ripe large bananas (frozen and thawed work great)
(350 grams) granulated sugar
(315 grams) all-purpose flour
fine sea salt
(170 grams) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (optional)
(113 grams) chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans (optional)
Turbinado or other sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9x5-inch loaf pans. (A loaf pan plus an 8-inch cake pan also works well, but note that the shallower pan will bake faster.)
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher.
- Mix in the butter, sugar, and eggs well.
- In a medium bowl, sift (or whisk) together the flour, salt, and baking soda, and add to the banana batter.
- Stir just until the flour mostly disappears. Add the optional chocolate and/or nuts, then stir just until no streaks of flour are visible.
- Pour into the buttered loaf pans (feel free to mix and match pans, but no pan should be more than ⅔ full). Sprinkle a thin layer of turbinado sugar on top.
- Bake until the top is dry and deep golden brown, and springs back when lightly pressed with a finger in the center. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out dry or with moist crumbs clinging (and maybe chocolate streaks, but no wet batter), 35 to 45 minutes, or less for shallower pans.
- Let the loaves cool until warm, about 30 minutes, then unmold, or let cool fully in the pan (handy for storage). Store tightly covered at room temperature.