Perfect Banana Walnut Bread

Baker's Delight: Classic Banana Walnut Bread
Baker’s delight: a classic favorite.

Banana walnut bread was one of the very first foods I ever baked from scratch on my own. It was a weekend during the summer—I think I was about 12—and I  remember wanting to try making the quick bread as a variation to one of my mom’s favorite breakfast treats, banana muffins. I used bananas that weren’t ripe enough though, and the cake came out tasting a little bland. It was also very dry. I was determined to keep trying.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed playing with different recipes to create the perfect banana bread. I’ve tried variations with sour cream or yogurt for supreme moistness, and even a health-conscious recipe with oats and no butter that was inspired by a nutrition class I took during my sophomore year at college. My favorite of them all is the simplest one, adapted from a recipe by shrewd businesswoman kitchen maven Martha Stewart. It’s moist yet crumby, and has a wonderfully sweet yet nutty flavor.

Homemade Banana Walnut Bread, adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe.

Makes one large loaf, or two smaller ones.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 5 large, brown bananas, smushed and smashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup of whole walnuts, roughly chopped with a knife
  • 1 tbsp honey, if desired.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer (I have this KitchenAid one in pink!) cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about one minute.
  4. Add eggs and mix well until combined.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture followed by half the banana mixture. Repeat step until all flour and bananas are incorporated. (The batter will now smell heavenly!)
  6. Add vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  7. Remove bowl from the mixer, and fold in walnuts by hand with a wooden spoon.
  8. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  9. If desired, drizzle honey onto top of batter before placing the pan into the oven.
  10. Cook for 45 minutes.
  11. Lower heat to 325 degrees and cook for 20 more minutes, until top is golden.
  12. Let cool for 10 minutes, then slice and enjoy!
Mix it up!
Nuts and Bolts: If you love the taste of walnuts but don’t love the chunky consistency of the bread, then try pulsing the nuts in a food processor before adding them to the batter. But be careful not to grind them up too much – this will lead to an oily and unpalatable addition to your loaf.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s