This recipe began as the Best-Ever Banana Muffins – and the name truly does not disappoint. They are the muffins that made me consider dropping everything, buying a stash of vintage floral aprons, getting a 50′s haircut, and opening a bakery… maybe I’ll still do that.
To shake things up a bit (you know, walk on the wild side), I once decided to bake the batter as a loaf instead of muffins. And, what did I get? The best banana bread ever!
Light and tender, never dense, this recipe produces muffins and loaves that are perfectly moist and full of banana flavor. Add a handful of chocolate chips and we are entering a new sphere of banana deliciousness. You’ve really gotta try it for yourself.
Some tips for perfect quickbreads and muffins? Preheat preheat preheat. Your oven should absolutely be at the baking temperature by the time the batter hits the oven (this applies to all baking). Also, the batter should get into the oven as quickly as possible once the wet ingredients hit the dry. Both of these tips are based on the chemistry of baking powder – if it is double-acting, it starts to work as soon as it is moistened, and then again with heat. We want to work quickly and with the right heat to allow optimal rising – the results will be fluffy and light, as desired. Equally important, never over-mix. You want to stir gently, and only until there are no more flour patches. Over-mixing produces tough, dense muffins and loaves.
I always have a stash of “very ripe” (read: brown, mushy, highly fragrant) bananas in the freezer, peeled, and broken in chunks and stored in a ziploc freezer bag. When the bag gets full, I make banana bread.
Got bananas that look like this?
You know what to do.
- 1 egg
- 1½ – 2 cups mashed banana (about 4 large)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup milk
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8½- by 4½-inch loaf pan by greasing it or lining it with parchment paper (allowing an overhang on sides). Beat egg, mashed banana and melted butter in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Stir in milk.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir until just moistened. Gently stir in chocolate chips, if using. Sprinkle walnuts on top.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.