Ask anyone who knows me, lately I have been having cravings for childhood favorites like carrot cake and banana bread. I had searched Shanghai far and wide for an affordable loaf pan until a friend had a genius idea. So yesterday after work I went to the Tesco by my house in search of glass “tupperware” that was heat resistant, and what do you know they had a huge selection of this stuff. The ones that I found in the shape of a more traditional loaf pan were a little wider and shorter than normal (and more money than I wanted to spend), but I’ve suffered long enough without this essential baking dish, so I went for it. Last night the heavens opened up and angels started singing when I pulled this baby out of the toaster oven.
My Mom always made awesome banana bread when I was growing up, so I asked her for her recipe. Her’s called for buttermilk, and I never keep milk in my house and totally forgot to buy it, so I looked around for other recipes and I found that the vast majority don’t call for any liquid. There are so many takes on this classic, and I actually can’t wait to try a few variations. But for now I stuck with the most basic of ingredients.
I saw some debates online about using white sugar v. using brown sugar, and I opted with the classic white. Even though I love the flavor of brown sugar back in the States, the only brown sugar I have been able to find here has a different flavor that I’ve found overpowering in a lot of cookies I’ve made. However, the white sugar in China is not without its own issues. The sugar granules here are much larger than the granules in US sugar, it’s harder to incorporate them fully into recipes and make sure they melt properly.
I was a little nervous that I would have crunchy banana bread, but my fears were unfounded as this recipe turned out amazing.
- Approximately 1 & 1/3 C of smashed, ripe bananas (mine were small so I used 4)
- 2 C AP flour
- 1 C sugar
- 2 L eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 C (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- In a small bowl, cream together room temperature butter and sugar until light and fluffy (doesn’t take long)
- Beat the 2 eggs into the butter/sugar mixture
- In another bowl, smash the bananas with a fork and add the vanilla
- In yet another small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices
- Add the banana and flour mixtures to the butter/egg/sugar in small, alternating amounts, gently mixing all ingredients together (don’t over mix!)
- Pour batter into a greased bread pan and bake in a 350F degree oven for 1 hour (I added about 10 more minutes, but check for doneness first)
- Bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean
- Let bread set in the pan for about 20 minutes, then remove from pan and cool COMPLETELY on a rack until slicing
- Pig out
It really is important to cool the bread completely before you slice it up, or else it will crumble and fall apart. I do love warm banana bread so I always toast a slice and spread a little butter on top.
This is such a classic and easy recipe, I foresee many loaves in my future.