I love a fresh banana, truly I do. There is something so satisfying about peeling back the thick, crisp skin only to reveal the pale flesh with a delightgfully creamy texture and natural sweetness. Why is it then, that whenever I succumb to buying a beautiful bunch, they simply while away the time in my fruitbowl? Their perfect complexion slowly deteriorates until the dreaded signs of aging begin to show – brown spots. And it doesn’t stop there. Soon enough, the spots join forces until the entire skin is covered in blackened patches. The once firm, smooth and flawless skin is rendered saggy, wrinkled and blemished. Does this mean that they should be tossed aside for a new bunch of fresh-faced bananas? Most certainly not! Whilst they might not look as pretty as their younger counterparts, their honeyed flesh more than makes up for their sad appearance. The luscious, ripened bananas are destined for glory – in the form of baked goods.
Though I often experiment with other banana-based baked goods, I can always count on my tried and trusted Banana Bread recipe to hit all the right notes. The candied banana flavour pairs exceptionally well with the aromatic cinnamon. Walnuts add an unctuous crunch to an otherwise, moist, delicately crumbed loaf.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 very ripe bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts plus 5 halves reserved for the top
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well to combine. In another bowl, cream together the eggs and sugar. Mash the bananas and stir into the egg mixture along with the oil, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk well to combine. Stir the flour into the egg mixture in thirds, incorporating it well, then mix in the walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and press the walnut halves in a line into the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.