Most of us have recipes we've made so many times that we know them backwards and forwards and could probably carry them out blindfolded and with one hand tied behind the back. I have several of those, and this is one I can't believe I haven't shared.
Banana bread is far and away the most popular way to use up mushy, brown bananas, and I'm sure that most cooks have their own recipe that they've tweaked and honed to perfection over the years. My favorite recipe for banana bread is extremely basic, making use of most of the usual suspects (flour, soda, salt, spices, sugar, butter, eggs, and bananas). There's only one slightly unexpected ingredient, and that's yogurt, which I use for some extra moistness and as a way to cut back on the butter a bit.
While I've added everything from nuts to coconut to dried fruit to chocolate chips in the past, this latest loaf was as straightforward and frill-free as they come. It's delicious plain or toasted, with butter or peanut butter, or probably with any number of accompaniments. Since I prefer the bananas I eat raw to be mostly brown and soft, I had to buy some and intentionally ignore them so they could get old enough to use for this bread. Friends, my sacrifice was worth it.
Basic (but Bodacious) Banana Bread
Makes one 9x5-inch loaf
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
- 1/3 cup plain (or vanilla!) yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices, stirring with a whisk.
Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute).
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended.
Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.