I’ve been going back through some of our very early posts, doing some updating and pulled this one back up. Most of us have a handful of recipes that are frequently requested and for me, this falls into that bucket. Banana Nut Bread is probably one of the most popular of all quick breads and this is a great recipe worth sharing.
Quick breads are great for breakfast or brunch, snacks or dessert and one of my favorite things to make when taking gifts of food to friends. Rich and buttery with a tender crumb from the buttermilk, this recipe yields beautiful loaves of bread – golden mahogany in color, with the delicate sweet flavor of bananas and loaded with a crunch of toasted pecans.
The best tip I can offer to anyone making banana nut bread – use really, really ripe bananas. No artificial flavoring, please no. Instead, use those bananas lying on your counter looking all dark and wretched, they’re perfect for baking. I seem to always end up with two or three bananas left uneaten from a bunch. So I peel them and freeze them – they’ll keep for 3-6 months in your freezer and will be on hand when you’re ready to bake anything with bananas.
Some additional notes:
*Always start with butter and eggs at room temperature. This helps to create a light and tender bread.
*Once you’ve added the flour be careful not to over mix the batter; mix just until the flour disappears. All that care you took with the butter and eggs will go out the window if you over work the flour.
*Bring out the flavor in those pecans. Spread them out on a baking sheet and toast them for about 8 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Toast a batch and freeze the extra for later.
True to a quick bread, this Banana Nut Bread comes together, well quickly! Best of all, it gets better by the day. The flavors meld together and intensify plus the bread is actually more moist the day after you bake it. Make a loaf or two for you and maybe one for a friend!
Banana Nut Bread
2 sticks butter, 1 cup – room temperature
3 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups flour
5 bananas, mashed well (4 if they’re large) – about 2 cups
1 cup toasted rough chopped pecans
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Cream the butter on medium speed until light and whipped.
Slowly add the sugar to the butter, pouring in about ½ cup at a time. Continue beating the butter and sugar until its well blended and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
Using low speed add the eggs one at a time, mixing into the butter and sugar before adding another.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup mix the buttermilk with the baking soda. (I use a 4-cup measuring cup to allow room for the buttermilk to expand and it will expand!)
Stir the flour into the batter on low speed adding about a cup at a time.
Pour in the buttermilk about a third at a time, beginning and ending with the flour. Blend just until the flour is mixed into the batter.
Add the mashed bananas, the toasted pecans and the vanilla extract.
Mix on low speed just until the bananas, pecans and the vanilla extract are blended into the batter.
Pour the batter into 3 small or 2 large loaf pans that have been greased and floured or sprayed with cooking spray and lined with parchment paper.
Bake the bread at 350-degrees for 55-60 minutes for the small loaves, 70-80 minutes for the large loaves. If the bread starts to brown too much on top, cover loosely with foil. When the bread is done it will be golden brown in color, the bread will just start to pull away from the edge of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out mostly clean.
Cool the bread in the pan placed on racks for 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. This bread freezes beautifully. To freeze, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and drop it into a freezer bag.