Since the pandemic started, I’ve been reading some snark about the rising popularity of banana bread. To these people, I say: FUCK YOU. Let people bake what they want. Banana bread is a great thing to bake and eat. It’s easy; it’s quick, it’s delicious; and there are so many variations of it! It’s good for breakfast, as dessert; toasted, not toasted. It’s easy to store (air-tight containers!) so keeps well.

During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, I organised a little competition and slices of banana bread were the booby prizes. Nobody ever complained. And it was ridiculously easy to make. (I said that already, right?) I did not think I would become a key member of the Defence team on the Judgement Of Banana Bread but these are weird times.

So, bakers – new bakers – of the pandemic. This is a very simple recipe that yields a hearty loaf of banana bread. If you don’t have things at hand, substitution is okay. For example, the normal recipe calls for “all-purpose flour” but I substituted it with wheat flour (or spelt in Dutch grocery stores) because this is a wheat flour household. We didn’t have any baking soda so I used baking powder instead, doubling the amount. The coconut oil below? Originally used to be vegetable. The bread came out great. Good luck.

This recipe comes from Drew’s mama. One day, I asked Drew about banana bread and he forwarded me an old email from his mom with a docx attachment. She signed it, “Love you!” and it was cute getting a little peak into a modern mother-son relationship. (My own mother has only just figured out how to forward messages on WhatsApp so I am not holding my breath from personalised recipes written in Microsoft Word sent by email.) Drew’s mom’s recipe was adapted from a March 2013 issue of Bon Appetit. And mine is adapted from hers. Thanks Mama van Drew!

Ingredients

  • 200 grams (1.75 cups) of wheat flour
  • 1,5 tsp baking soda (or 3 tsp of baking powder)
  • 0,75 tsp of kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 grams (1,25 cups) of sugar (I know! It’s a lot!) — brown is better than white
  • About two large (1 cup) mashed bananas — the more overripe, the better
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) of coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • a dollop of honey
  • (optional) 3 tbsp of dessicated coconut flakes
  • (optional) 50 grams (1/2 cup) of chopped walnuts
  • (optional) a small handful of walnuts for decoration

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Coat a loaf pan with baking spray (or butter/oil). I prefer lining the pan with baking paper instead. It doesn’t matter.

  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, mashed bananas, oil, and vanilla extract until it’s smooth.

  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir it until it’s all just combined. (Overmixing dries the end result. I am not sure why.)

  5. If you have them, add the optional coconut flakes and chopped walnuts to the mix.

  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, and add the handful of walnuts on top for decoration.

  7. Bake in the oven for around 45-60 minutes — when the top starts to get a little too brown, maybe around the 20 minute mark, cover the top with foil to protect it from burning — until the centre of the bread comes out clean with a toothpick/knife. Funny story: Our oven is very badly designed so we don’t actually have an accurate temperature gauge! I know right! What are we doing baking in a faulty oven?! I don’t know but it just means we go through a lot of toothpick testers.

  8. Let the bread cool in the pan for around fifteen minutes.

The bread can be stored airtight at room temperature for a 2-3 days. It’s delicious sliced and toasted before serving.