Banana bread to me is a comfort food. It should have a soft, moist texture and preferably be filled with walnuts or pecans! Chocolate chips and shredded coconut also make for nice additions if you are feeling extra sweet! Despite being a fairly simple quick bread, the variances among recipes using a quick Pinterest or Google search are overwhelming.
I have tried numerous of the quote “best banana bread” recipes, and guess what? Some were downright disappointing. You see, some of these recipes have been altered to be “healthy” even though they are not. As you may have noticed from all of my baking, I am not a traditional registered dietitian. What I mean by this is that I don’t believe in healthifying sweets to the point that they are no longer enjoyable. If recipes can be improved, I am all for making them healthier. However, think about the following:
1. Baking is balance of science and art. The science of ingredients and their functions in food is incredibly fascinating, complex, and finicky. Have you ever accidentally added baking soda instead of baking powder (or vice versa)? Odds are, your finished product was still perfectly edible but the quality suffered. That’s because baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate and has a very high pH (basic). It requires an acidic ingredient (ie brown sugar) in the mix to react properly in baking to give the finished product its proper rise. Baking powder, on the other hand, is sodium bicarbonate plus the acids needed to produce carbon dioxide to allow the baked product to rise. Baking powder also contains cornstarch to delay the reactions between the sodium bicarbonate and acids. It is fine to make recipe changes when baking, but my best take-away is to proceed with caution.
2. I love food and intuitive eating. Food is meant to be enjoyed! If you would like to know more about intuitive eating, I would encourage you to read more about it here. The point I am trying to make is that I personally do not want to eat a blah version of something I love. If I am going to have a treat, it better be amazing. Otherwise, it often leads to feeling deprived and unsatisfied.
This particular banana bread recipe is a beloved recipe from my maternal grandmother Elizabeth Lennon. I never had the privilege of knowing my sweet grandmother, as she passed prior to my birth. However, the stories I have heard is that she was a gentle, quiet, and loving woman. I have also learned that she was a skilled baker and could make a bountiful meal with limited resources. I cherish her recipes and wanted to pass on her banana bread recipe. This is a tried-and-true recipe that has stood the test of time. It is simply delightful, especially toasted with a smear of butter.
Buttermilk may be substituted in place of sour milk.
If desired, ½ cup chocolate chips and/or ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes may also be added