When I’ve been away for awhile, and my routines are out of whack, and I feel a little ungrounded, I like to bake something homey and simple to bring me back home. Banana bread is perfect for this. It feels like slipping on that worn, comfortable sweater you’ve had for 15 years and won’t ever get rid of. And it also has the virtue of being a baked good that can be mostly healthy. This version is a case in point.
When I was away at ALA, I was lucky enough to pick up an advanced copy of White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story by Jenna Weber. I love food-related memoirs, especially when there are recipes involved. And while this one started off slowly, the story really came into its own. Much like the writer.
Jenna blogs at Eat, Live, Run, and after reading her book, her blog has made it into my frequent-reading list. This banana bread recipe was inspired by one in her book, and I look forward to many future inspirations.
I made a few tweaks to the recipe: I am not a fan of molasses, so I swapped in maple cream, and I love the faint hint of maple in this bread. I’ve indicated a variable amount of maple cream (or maple syrup) in the recipe; feel free to adjust to your taste. I also prefer a denser, less cake-y style of banana bread, so I used a bit more oil in my version. As you can see in the photo above, this usually means the inside is a little softer, which I love. Experiment, if you’d like, and find what works best for you.
What I like most about banana bread is that it’s very forgiving, totally easy, and it really doesn’t matter if it looks perfect. It’s better if it’s a little rustic, and a little rough around the edges. Banana bread just wants you to relax. Pull up a chair. Have a slice. I hope you will.
- 3 ripe bananas
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- 2-3 tablespoons maple cream or maple syrup
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, or grease with coconut oil.
- Peel the bananas, and mash them with a fork in a medium bowl. Stir in the sugar, oil, and maple cream or maple syrup, and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gently stir into the banana mixture, and pour into the loaf pan.
- Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer entered into the center comes out clean, and the top is golden brown.
- Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes, then invert and let it cool the rest of the way.