- 4 ripe bananas
- 1/2c butter, unsalted
- 1/2c brown sugar
- 1/2c granulated sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 1/2c flour (feel free to sub in some whole wheat for an almost-healthier twist)
- 3/4c mini chocolate chips (optional)
I grew up living with my father. He commuted at least an hour both ways to work just to make sure that I could stay in the same town with the same friends, and so for most of my life, we only spent the mornings and nights together. In the morning, he would wake me up, give me a piggyback ride to the kitchen table, and give me breakfast. On rushed days, it was oatmeal or a glass of Carnation instant breakfast. Other times, it was a bowl of sugared blueberries in cream, or a cup of buttery, peppered soft boiled eggs and toast. And sometimes, it was his banana bread. Cut into thick slabs and warmed up with a generous swipe of butter, it was a special treat. Even better, it was something I could enjoy and prepare even if he had to leave before I woke up.
When my roommates asked me to make banana bread, I confidently accepted the challenge, but knew deep down that I had some big shoes to fill. I thought of the things that make his banana bread so good–strong banana flavor, a hint of spice, and a succulent, moist (sorry), texture. Knowing damn well that my dad would either a. withhold the recipe like he always does or b. take too long to give it to me, I decided to create my own. I found a recipe to act as my skeleton, and then changed things around–increasing the amount of butter, browning the butter, and adding spices to one loaf and mini chocolate chips to another. While nothing will ever really compare to my father’s banana bread, I have to admit that this is certainly a contender. I made two 8×8 loaves and they lasted one day. I ate 6 pieces yesterday, no shame. So find some browning bananas, work up an appetite, and get started !
Browned Butter Banana Bread
(adapated from simply recipes)
Preheat the oven to 350.
Get your banana-smashing set-up ready (see above for ideas !!!) Place the bananas in a bowl. Using a masher or the bottom of a jar, smash the bananas. Lumps are encouraged. Set aside.
Now, brown the butter. To do this, chop up the butter into uniform cubes. Place in a pan over medium heat. In my experience, the key to browning butter is to leave it alone as much as you can.
The butter will melt and start to get a little sassy. As it continues to cook, a layer of foam will form as little brown bits form at the bottom of the pan. Once the bits at the bottom are a deep brown and the foam is golden and starting to subside, you are done. It should take about 5-7 minutes from start to finish. Rather than using a spoon, just swirl the pan around to move the butter two or three times during this process. Remove the butter from the heat and pour it on top of the bananas. Stir to combine.
See the brown flecks and all the foam ? That’s what I’m talking about. Delicious.
Add the sugars, egg, and vanilla to the bowl and mix. Sprinkle the baking soda, salt, and spices over top, then gently stir to combine. Then, mix in the flour until just combined. If using chocolate chips (or nuts or dried fruit, for that matter), mix those in last. Pour the batter into a greased 8×8 or loaf pan. Loaves will take about an hour, 8×8 pans take a little less, about 50-55 minutes. To be safe, I started checking around 45 minutes by sticking a knife into the center. When it comes out clean, you’re good to go. When done, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. While it should be moist and delicious on its own, don’t hesitate to toast up some slices with a little extra butter on top. Good luck trying not to eat the whole thing.