“It’s the most amazing, most perfect banana bread!” Five years ago, my friend’s then 12-year-old son made me blush with his complement. Thank you, Levi!
I give thanks to my late friend and fellow Bakers Dozen San Francisco member, Marion Cunningham. Her recipe for Banana Nut Bread in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook was my starting point. 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 works with gluten-free flour as long as you remember the xanthan gum—see recipe notes.) Great plain but the ultimate banana bread experience is toasted then slathered with butter and sprinkled with a pinch of flaky salt.
makes one 8.5 by 4.5-inch loaf; adapted from Marion Cunningham
- 3 freckly bananas (plus another one for the top)
- ½ cup sucanat (unrefined cane sugar) aka rapadura as it's known in Brazil, jaggery in the Phillipines, piloncillo in Mexico
- 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
- 2 tablespoons ground flax meal optional
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chunks optional
- ½ cup toasted walnuts optional
Preheat oven to 350° 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, flax meal (optional), 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 the top no longer appear wet. Remove from oven, cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes / Tips
- The tantalizing aroma of sucanat 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 in bulk, but there are plenty of packaged brands.
- 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 with no adjustments, best to add the 2 tablespoons flax meal though