We love bananas, and so does our one-year-old Labradoodle, Guero. I mean, he loves them so much, we call him “monkey.”
But, what he doesn’t love is when a banana is overripe. And, frankly, neither do I. So, when a banana starts getting too many black spots, I remove the banana from the skin, put it in a ziploc bag and toss it in the freezer.
Generally, I’ll add a frozen, overripe banana to a smoothie, but since we’re sort of over smoothie season, what’s a girl to do with two bags of two overripe bananas in each bag, you ask? Make banana bread, of course.
I haven’t been able to locate my favorite banana nut bread recipe, which was my grandmother’s recipe, since the late 90’s and so each time I make it, I find a new one to try out. And this time, I hit pay dirt.
I went to one of my favorite “baker” blogs, Joy the Baker, and found that she had made a banana-cranberry bread which she had gotten from two of my other favorite bloggers, Smitten Kitchen, who borrowed the recipe from Simply Recipes. All three of these blogs are truly fantastic. I encourage you to check them out.
And while I liked the recipe, I tweaked it a bit and adapted it to what I had on hand, leaving out what I didn’t. The result was an amazingly moist and scrumptious banana-cranberry-walnut bread.
It’s so easy, all you’ll need are a few basic ingredients, one bowl and a 4×8 loaf pan, four frozen, overripe bananas, some cranberries and walnuts. Everything else, you’ll likely have in the pantry.
When the bananas on the counter are turning black and no one wants them anymore, don't throw them away. Instead, peel them and toss them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for that moment when the banana bread craving hits. Feel free to switch out cranberries for blueberries or pecans for walnuts or add chocolate chips.
- 3-4 frozen overripe bananas
- 1 perfectly ripe banana to slice on the top
- 1/3 cup salted butter melted and slightly cooled (I don't usually buy salted butter, so I just added a dash of salt, just a little under 1/8 tsp., to make it a salted butter)
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 farm fresh egg beaten
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour I did not have any a-p flour, so I used self-rising flour and just omitted the baking soda, which worked out perfectly, but use whatever you have
- 1/2 cup dried organic cranberries
- 1 cup walnut pieces and halves
Take the plastic bags of frozen bananas from the freezer and allow to defrost. I left mine in the sink, as the bags will get quite wet from condensation. As the bananas defrost, an amber-colored water will accumulate in the bags...and this is what is the trick to moist bread, so keep that water!
Dump the frozen bananas and their juice in a big bowl and mash with a potato masher or a wooden spoon. Mix in melted butter and stir well. Add the sugar, beaten egg, vanilla and the spices to combine. If you are using all-purpose flour, sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in thoroughly. Add the flour (a-p or self-rising) and mix until combined. Add the cranberries and walnuts and stir just until incorporated.
Pour batter into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Take the ripe banana and slice on the bias. Decoratively place sliced banana pieces on top of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean from the center. (My bread took about 70 minutes.)
Cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Take a butter knife and run it around the edges to ensure it will come out of the pan. Remove from the pan, turn right-side up and let cool completely.
Slice and serve.
This bread is great leftover with a schmear of cream cheese!