I’m a bit bashful to write this, but kids really do tell it like it is: “The most amazing, most perfect banana bread!”
Levi, my friend’s 12 year old son, sent the complements that make me blush. But I can’t take all the credit. My foundation comes from my fellow Bakers Dozen San Francisco member, the late (the great!) Marion Cunningham and her recipe for Banana Nut Bread in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
Over the years I decreased the sugar and made a few other tweaks that suit the products we have available today, like unrefined sugar (sucanat/rapadura), flax meal, and a wide variety of flours. (This recipe will work gluten-free as long as you remember the xanthan gum—see recipe notes.) I’ve also made changes that rival coffee-house treats: big chunks of bittersweet chocolate and decorative banana slices on top. Enjoy slices plain for tea time or dessert the day you bake, but don’t forget the ultimate banana bread experience: toasted then slathered with butter and a pinch of flaky salt. Bon appétit!
makes one 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf
- 3 freckly bananas (plus another one for the top)
- 1/2 cup sucanat (unrefined cane sugar, aka rapadura)
- 2 eggs large
- 2 tbsp sunflower or canola oil or coconut oil or butter (melted and cooled to room temp)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks optional
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray or a light coating of butter or solid vegetable shortening.
Peel the bananas and mix them on low speed of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment. Add sucanat and mix until fairly smooth. Add the eggs and mix to incorporate.
Combine the flours, salt, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl. Whisk to combine then add to the banana mixture. Mix until combined then add the optional chocolate chunks and/or walnuts.
Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan (optionally top with sliced banana) and bake for 55 minutes - 1 hour, until cracks on top of loaf no longer appear wet. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out on a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes / Tips
- Try to find sucanat (also known as rapadura) and give it a smell. The tantalizing aroma comes from the molasses that is naturally a part of the sugar cane juice when it isn't highly processed (into white or brown sugar). I buy mine bulk, but you can also find packaged brands.
- If you can't find sucanat, substitute granulated or soft brown sugar.
- For gluten-free: substitute the wheat flours for 2 cups of your favorite gluten-free blend + 1 teaspoon xanthan gum.
- You can find several gluten-free flour blends sold commercially nowadays, but I prefer to mix my own.
- You can omit the oil completely or substitute 2 tablespoons flax meal