Classic American Banana Bread

Banana bread. How many recipes can there be? There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, if you simply do a quick search. Many of these banana bread recipes claim to be "The.Best.Ever." But there really can only be one to wear the crown of best banana bread ever. This is the one. Seriously.



This recipe is adapted from a book that I discovered on the shelves of the Strand back in New York years ago, The American Heritage Cookbook and Illustrated History of American Eating & Drinking. It's a two volume set that explores the who, what, when, where and why of many of the staples in your grandmother's repertoire. I find this sort of thing utterly captivating. For me food is so much about context in innumerable ways: location, season, historical backstory ... the list is endless. If that is the type of thing that flips your wig I highly recommend finding a copy, otherwise keep reading.


Be forewarned: this banana bread recipe has been altered to scratch my contextual itch. I have made substitutions to bring a sense of place (and to try to make this guilty pleasure a bit more healthful and a hair less guilt ridden). Other than that this loaf is prepared the way it has been for generations. The only tools used are bowls, measuring spoons, a digital scale and a fork to mash the bananas.



Speaking of bananas, there is one critical point that you must abide by: USE OVERRIPE BANANAS! This is key to achieving the texture, moisture content and depth of flavor that are the defining characteristics of a good loaf of banana bread. Luckily for me I have the good fortune of having my own personal apple banana grove in the far back corner of my yard here on the Big Island, and I am a novice banana farmer to say the least.


A few weeks ago it seemed like it was time to harvest. Rather than heed the advice of my more experienced local friends, I cut down three enormous bunches, hung them to ripen in my garages and then found myself staying up all night peeling 300+ bananas that had gone straight to overripe in the blink of an eye. My freezer is still bursting at the seams with bags of bananas, but this recipe is perfection, and I am more than willing to eat my way to an empty larder. I'm sure that once you try it you'll be feeling the same.

INGREDIENTS


1.5 cups (240g) Sifted Flour

0.5 tsp (5g) Baking Soda

0.5 tsp (5g) Baking Powder

0.25 tsp (3g) Salt

0.5 cups (90g) Coconut Oil

1 cup (160g) Honey

4 tbsp (60g) Stevia

2 ea (100g) Large Eggs

1 ea Vanilla Bean

1 ea (5g) Lemon Zest

0.75 cup (220g) Mashed Ripe Bananas

2 tbsp (45g) Sour Cream

0.5 cup (60g) Macadamia Nuts

INSTRUCTIONS


Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit with the rack set in the middle of the oven. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.


Work the coconut oil, honey and stevia together until smooth. Incorporate the eggs one by one, then the vanilla, lemon and bananas.


Stir the dry mixture and sour cream into the wet mixture a bit at a time, alternating between the two. Last of all add the nuts.


cLightly grease a standard loaf pan (8"x3.75"x2.5") with some additional coconut oil and pour in the batter. Bake in the oven for approximately one hour or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

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