Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Banana Bread

Do you ever type or write something over and over again until the word just seems weird to you? Or you start thinking about why things are named what they are named?  Sometimes when I am typing these blog posts out, I write the recipe out first and then type in some details about the food, and then I come back later and write the beginning paragraph.  So today, when I was typing "banana" over and over I got thinking about what a weird word banana is.  How did this strand of letters get put together and made into a word?  Who decided that the long, yellow fruit would be called a banana?  And then I was just off on a tangent of why is anything named what it is and all words sound strange if you think about them too much, but I will keep that craziness of my brain to myself (for now!)  But, in case you are curious, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word banana is Spanish or Portuguese from African origin and it's first known use was around 1597. Also, fun facts: the banana plant is actually an herb and grows from bulbs not seeds, and if you open the banana from the bottom up, you wont get those stringy bits and they can be easier to open that way!  Ok sorry, enough with random banana lesson, let's get to talking about this bread!

This is the best banana bread ever! I know, I know, people don't like it when you claim something is the best. Everyone has their own opinions and has their own favorite recipes.  Plus there are tons and tons of banana bread recipes in existence and there is no way to try them all to prove my point, but I am still going to say that in my personal opinion this is, by far, the best banana bread I have ever had.  And you know, I don't really feel too bad going out on a limb for this one, especially because I know a whole bunch of people that have tried this bread and will back me up on my claim.  Hopefully you will give this a try and you will see what I mean!

The recipe is so easy and it comes out perfect every single time. The combination of vanilla and cinnamon really compliment the flavor of the bananas, but it is the almond extract that is the real secret ingredient here. I am not really sure how to explain how it transforms the bread, but it definitely makes it number one, in my opinion.  The other little secret is the sugar sprinkled on top of the batter right before it goes into the oven.  As you can see, in the picture below, while the bread is baking, the sugar starts to caramelize on top of the bread and creates a delicious crunchy sugar layer.

The bread keeps extremely well for 4-5 days and stays very moist due to the sour cream or yogurt. I almost always go with the yogurt option, since we usually have it on hand and I think using the vanilla yogurt bumps up the vanilla flavor just a little more.  To store the bread, I wrap the whole loaf in plastic wrap and then wrap again in aluminum foil.  This method definitely helps lock in the freshness.  If you make muffins, instead, just store in an air tight container.  The muffins make an excellent on-the-go snack or breakfast.  When I make this recipe, I usually make one loaf and use the rest of the batter for muffins. Feel free to add nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, or whatever else you might like into the batter. 

Banana Bread
Inspired by  One Lovely Life

6 tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 very ripe bananas
1 cup sour cream or plain/vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
 2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 tsp additional white sugar

Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until well combined.  In a medium bowl, mash peeled bananas with a fork and stir in sour cream/yogurt, vanilla and almond extracts, eggs, and cinnamon.  Beat the banana mixture into the butter mixture until combined.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed.  Pour the batter evenly into two greased loaf pans and sprinkle additional sugar over the top of the batter.  Bake for about 60  minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Alternately, bake in greased muffin tins for about 20-25 minutes (makes at least 24 regular size muffins.)



  1. Okay I am biased but I can truly attest to the fact that this is definitely the BEST banana bread on the planet- especially when Ali makes it :) Also - love the photo's!

  2. I just made this. It came out great!