Banana Bread – With or Without Nuts

Banana Bread

Oh, banana bread. How I love thee and all your diversity. What’s not to love about being able to use fruit that is past its prime? In fact, the browner the better. Not ready to use those browning beauties? Toss ’em in the freezer until you need them or the mood strikes. The mood struck when I opened the freezer and there were frozen “bad” bananas in every cubby of the door.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsps. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • a handful of whole walnuts, toasted & chopped
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 ripe bananas (thawed, if pulled from the freezer)
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten

Preparation:

Raise the lowest oven rack up a level. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. *Most recipes I’ve seen for bread lists 350 degrees for optimal baking. I have found, loaf after nearly burned bottom loaf, that it works best to raise the rack and lower the temp.*

Grease a loaf pan, or two, depending upon desired height of loaf and set aside. With this particular recipe, I’ve made one big loaf and six muffins, and I’ve also made two loaf pans with a smaller loaf height. Your choice.

If using walnuts, toast the desired amount for a few minutes in the preheated oven. Chop when cool.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, soda, and salt until just combined.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the bananas (tossing any liquid that may have accumulated if using bananas that were frozen) and mix well. Slowly incorporate dry mix into the creamed mixture, until just combined. Stir in toasted walnuts.

Pour into prepared loaf pans or muffin tins with papered liners. I sometimes sprinkle the top of the loaves with a little brown sugar before baking.

If baking muffins, bake for 17 – 20 minutes. For the loaves, bake for 60 minutes and/ or until set and when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Baking in additional 5 minute increments, as needed.

Notes/ Adjustments:

With this particular photo, the bread is darker than usual because I used coconut sugar in lieu of regular granulated sugar and this, in my experience so far of using coconut sugar, is the outcome in all of the baked goods I’ve tried. Also, with this particular photo, I used 1 cup of almond flour and just 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. Any time I use almond flour, I typically have to allow for more bake time. I’ve found using almond flour works best with muffins.

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