This banana bread from Cook’s Illustrated includes yogurt and walnuts for a scrumptiously moist, easy, nutty quick bread. Our favorite. It makes terrific banana muffins, too.
Alas, many a banana bread can turn out flat, dense, or otherwise lackluster. The biggest disappointment of all? A bread that doesn’t taste of bananas. None of these scenarios is the case with this winner of a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, which is the best I’ve ever had. All the better that it’s easy to make. Remember, you want overripe bananas–you know, the ones with the black splotches and mushy texture—to ensure the most intense banana experience. Originally published October 22, 2004.–David Leite
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Makes 1 loaf
Special Equipment: A loaf pan that measures 9 inches long, 5 inches across, and 3 inches deep
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1 1/4 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 very ripe, large-ish bananas with big black splotches, mashed well (1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt (preferably 2% or whole fat)
- 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) vanilla extract
- 1. Preheat the oven: Position an oven rack in the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and then toss a little flour in the pan and tilt it to coat all the butter-slicked sides with a fine dusting of flour. Dump out the flour, tapping the pan to remove any excess.
- 2. Roast the walnuts: Toss the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, slide in the oven, and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Immediately transfer the walnuts to a plate and let cool.
- 3. Mix the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts.
- 4. Mash the bananas and mix with the wet ingredients: In a medium bowl with a wooden spoon, stir the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla. (Yes, with a spoon. The exercise is good for you.)
- 5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients: Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula, mixing just until combined. The batter should be thick and sorta chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- 6. Bake until golden: Bake the bread until the surface appears golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
- 7. Cool and store the bread: Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Carefully tip the pan over so the loaf releases onto the wire rack and cool completely. Or, our vote, slice and serve the banana bread warm. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. It will have a rather crisp crust hot from the oven and a soft crust later that day or the next day.)