This banana bread recipe from Cook's Illustrated creates a scrumptiously moist quick bread with nuts that's easy to make and relatively healthy and tastes is pretty much the best ever—better even than your mom's. 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 recipe with nuts 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
Special Equipment: A loaf pan that measures 9 inches long, 5 inches across, and 3 inches deep
Banana Bread Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Makes 1 loaf
- 2 cups (240 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1 1/4 cups (about 140 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup (148 grams) granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon (4 grams) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
- 3 very ripe, large-ish bananas with big black splotches, mashed well (1 1/2 cups and about 340 grams)
- 1/4 cup (62 grams) plain yogurt (preferably 2% or whole fat)
- 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) vanilla extract
- 1. Position an oven rack in the lower-middle position and crank the heat 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. 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. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts.
- 4. 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.) 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.
- 5. Bake the bread until the surface appears golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. 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. Slice and serve the banana bread warm (our vote) or at room temperature (suit yourself). (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.)
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