One of the best parts about our “Road to Hana” on the Hawaiian island of Maui was the freshly baked banana bread we bought at a roadside stand. Although it was slightly on the pricier side (well, everything in Hawaii falls into that category), the fact that it had literally just come from the oven and was still warm when we took our first bites made the cost worth it. We snacked on it throughout the day and it was definitely the best “souvenir” I bought on Maui even though it wasn’t something I could actually bring home with me.
I got in the mood for banana bread the other day and as I had two near to rotting stage bananas, it worked out perfectly to try out a pretty simple recipe for it from my Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook. While gingerbread is still my favorite sweet bread, banana bread is definitely a close second, and just like that day on Maui, nothing compares with the taste of freshly baked, still warm banana bread.
recipe courtesy of the Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook by Gayle Pirie and John Clark
Butter for greasing
1 3/4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1/2 chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 loaf pan with butter.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to beat the butter with the sugar and lemon zest until soft and creamy. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Repeat, adding the remaining flour mixture in 2 more batches. Mix in the eggs and the mashed bananas until well blended. Gently fold in the pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Turn out onto a plate and serve at room temperature.