When I was a kid, my mom would make us banana bread to take in our lunches. She would bake it late at night, letting the smell of the sweet loaf permeate the corners of our bedrooms as we slept. The next day, we would find perfect little slices slathered with salty butter tucked into our lunch kits, and life would just suddenly make sense.
When it comes to baking banana bread as an adult, I try to keep it as simple as possible. No nuts, chocolate, bourbon, or anything that might take away from the syrupy sweetness of cooked bananas. However, I discovered two very simple additions that take this loaf to the next level: roasted bananas and brown sugar. When bananas are roasted they become ridiculously luxurious, and using brown sugar in place of white gives the loaf the slightest hint of burnt caramel. Trust me, this is classic banana bread at its finest.
The recipe is inspired by one of my favourite blogs, Smitten Kitchen, who loves to “jack up” her banana breads with any number of ingredients. If anyone was to convince me that uncooked millet was a delicious addition to banana bread, it’s Deb. But for now, I am happy with my nostalgic, uncomplicated loaf.
Roasted Banana Bread
makes one loaf
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
3 ripe bananas, unpeeled
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg. beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a standard loaf pan.
Place unpeeled bananas on a cookie sheet and roast until they are fragrant and skins are blackened, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool until you can handle them. Carefully peel bananas and place them into a large mixing bowl. Add melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla and mix well. Add salt, baking soda, and flour and mix until just combined. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350ºF for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove loaf from pan and allow it to cool completely before slicing. Slather a slice with some salty butter and relish the moment when everything makes sense.
Do you like your banana bread classic or modern? Nuts, chocolate, bourbon? I would love to hear what you think! Also, if you give this a try, let me know how it turned out. Happy roasting!