Dump-and-Stir Banana Bread with Cinnamon Butter

banana bread

At one time or another, we've all had overripe bananas sitting on our counter tops waiting to be consumed. Unfortunately, most of the time they end up in the trash. I'm not a big fan of bananas in general, so that happens to me all the time. But I absolutely love using them as a device in baking. I almost purposely let them go brown just to have an excuse to use them for baking. I've made many baked goods using overripe bananas: Banana Cake with Sour Cream Glaze, Cranberry-Banana Quinoa Bread, Pumpkin-Banana Mini Whoopie Pies, and Banana Walnut Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Banana bread is one of those confections that's always great to have on hand to offer friends when they stop by. Anyone would enjoy a thick slice spread with cinnamon butter served alongside coffee or tea. It's perfect for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon pick-me-up. Banana bread also makes a great gift at holiday time or can be shared with coworkers, especially if baked as muffins. Even if you don't like bananas, like me, you will love this banana bread. The best part about this recipe is that it uses only two bowls. In one the dry ingredients are combined and in the other the wet. All one needs to do is dump and stir. No special culinary expertise required.

A good banana bread has to be moist but not greasy and sweet but not cloying. This recipe achieves that by using a half stick of butter and brown sugar instead of white. To make up for the smaller amount of butter, applesauce and is used. In most recipes, half the butter, oil, or shortening can be substituted with applesauce. The addition of sour cream (yogurt works too) lends richness to the bread without adding fat. Banana bread is made even better with the addition of nuts and dried fruit, adding pockets of texture and flavor. This recipe is up to adaptation: Instead of walnuts and raisins, pecans and dried cranberries work too. And the addition of chocolate chips make anything better. These are the endless ways to use those lonely browned bananas without letting them go to waste.

Dump-and-Stir Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup (about 3 medium) mashed ripe bananas
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a large (9-by-5-by-3-inch) loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt.

In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients: eggs, bananas, butter, apple sauce, sour cream, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well to incorporate. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 9 slices.

Cinnamon Butter

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve at room temperature.