My Go-to Banana Bread

My Go-to Banana Bread

Living with my boyfriend E in his Midtown apartment, I’ve noticed a strange thing guys do- they store bananas in the fridge. Every single time, the bananas turn black way faster than they should, but no one ever seems to have a problem with it. And by “not having a problem” it usually means a couple gets eaten and the rest is stored away until they rot. This has become great news to me, since bananas never make it to my daily fruit selection. I would only buy them when I need to cook with them, hovering over the bright yellow bunch and obsessively counting the slow-emerging black spots to indicate their ripeness. 

By now I’ve used this recipe for my favourite banana bread enough times to memorize it. It is from the famous Flour Bakery in Boston, owned by the applied mathematics and economics major-turned chef Joanne Chang who is also my secret culinary idol. I used to visit my friend Mandy who went to Wellesley College, and would make daily trips to one of their four locations, people watching as I indulge in my 3 course lunch of warm quinoa salad, daily pizza and a fat slice of this delicious banana bread.

I make slight changes to the recipe every time, mainly due to the fact that my kitchen isn’t always as well stocked as I thought. I’ve made it with white, light brown, dark brown sugar, and mixtures of them. I’ve made it in a round tin and a loaf tin, variations with creme fraiche, yogurt, cream cheese, plain flour, whole wheat flour, vegetable oil, and even coconut oil. I have to say Joanne has pretty much perfected the recipe. The banana bread at Flour is crazily moist, but I prefer my version which does not have walnuts and has less sugar, which I compensate with extra-ripe bananas. Using creme fraiche yields the richest and most flavourful result, which I would save this for a special treat. 

This banana bread is light and moist with a sweet aroma of caramelized banana, while the coconut oil gives it a nutty depth. As E and I laze our Saturday away, it is the only thing that peels us away from the couch, slowly disappearing until the sticky sheet of baking sheet is the only thing left on the kitchen counter.

Perfect Banana Bread

adapted from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
3 1/2 banana, mashed
2 tbsp creme fraiche or yogurt

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts (if you prefer).
  4. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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