Banana bread cops a lot of flack, and for good cause: it’s full of sugar, carbs and fat, and for some reason, we insist on calling it a bread when it is so bloody obviously a cake, which – equally inexplicably – makes it seem healthier than it really is. As such, until today, I hadn’t had a slice of banana bread in eleven months (sob), so that may account for some of the joy I experienced in eating this. However, a number of others have validated my stance that this banana bread, based on a recipe by Smitten Kitchen is the best banana bread I’ve ever made – and trust me, I’ve made a few!
While it will never pass as a health food, as far as banana breads go, a small slice of this isn’t too bad. The recipe yields 12 small slices at just 202 calories apiece, which makes for a perfect afternoon treat. I like to make it into 3 smaller loaves using an old mini-loaf pan that I’m pretty sure I accidentally stole from my mum when I moved out of home – I have no recollection of buying it, I don’t recall my mother ever using it when I was living at home, and it’s looked a little banged up ever since I discovered it one day in my kitchen cupboard, but I really love this thing.
Besides, smaller loaves mean even more of the deliciously caramelised crust that makes a banana bread so delectably addictive! However, it also translates into a mighty fine regular loaf – you just need to add another 20-30 minutes to the baking time.
Experience shows that swirling a tablespoon of Nutella through the batter after pouring it into the pan/s doesn’t go astray. But if you’re watching your calories/sugar intake, rest assured that it is just as awesome without it.
3 overripe bananas
75 grams salted butter, cubed
3/4 brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg
1-2 tablespoons Jack Daniels American Honey (any whiskey or bourbon will do, but this is perfect for the job!)
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Mash bananas and butter in a large mixing bowl by hand or electric beaters, or in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle whip (which is how I do it).
- Add the sugar and beat on medium for one minute.
- Mix in egg, vanilla, whiskey, salt and spices.
- Gently mix in the flour until combined.
- Pour into a greased loaf pan. If using mini loaf pans, bake for 30 minutes. For a large loaf, bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes while still in loaf pan. Remove from pan, cool further on a rack, and serve.