Dump-and-Stir Banana Bread with Cinnamon Butter

banana bread

At one time or another, we've all had overripe bananas sitting on our countertops 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 making banana bread. 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

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 equipment required.

banana bread

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

1 cup (about 3 medium) mashed ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup light-brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cinnamon-honey butter (recipe follows), for serving

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

In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients: eggs, bananas, butter, applesauce, sour cream, and vanilla.

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

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well to incorporate. Fold in raisins and walnuts. 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 15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 10 slices.

Cinnamon-Honey 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.

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