When it comes to banana bread, chances are that you know someone with a favorite recipe. Whether it's a family secret or a recent discovery, all banana bread recipes have small special flairs that make them different from each other. There are a few basic principles and ingredients, though, which stand out amongst all of the variations.
Many recipes call for very ripe bananas, some to the point of turning extremely brown. The level of ripeness is a point of contention between many home cooks, but it is essential to remember that your bananas need to be at least fully ripe to be sweet. The mushier and the riper they are, the richer and sweeter the banana flavor will be.
The ingredient add-ons are another way to make a banana bread recipe interesting. Whether you want to incorporate the classic choice of walnuts or pecans, or take a cue from a British cookbook and include bourbon-soaked sultanas, it is all up to you. In a Hawaiian recipe, molasses is added for extra depth of sweetness. There are spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove that can also be mixed in, for a homier and warmer flavor. Other recipes also use a creamy ingredient like buttermilk or sour cream.
Our recipe features many of the usual suspects like very ripe bananas and melted butter, but it also includes some ingredients to kick it up a notch. We’ve added a touch of dark liqueur, whether you choose bourbon or rum, and extra complexity is added with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. We’ve also opted for light brown sugar for more of a molasses flavor. Chopped walnuts play a big role in our version of the ultimate banana bread.
This recipe is very easy to make, and doesn’t even require a mixer or a food processor. Most of the work can be done by hand, and it’s up to you how chunky you want your banana pieces and nuts. Because of its simplicity, this recipe can also be easily tweaked to incorporate a favorite ingredient like raisins or even pineapple if you wish.