There are certain smells that instantly lift my mood. Freshly cut grass, fabric softener, hot bacon, campfires, and Anthropologie candles to name a few, but freshly baked banana bread may be at the top of my list.
Even if you don’t like the taste of bananas, the smell of banana bread baking in the oven is the epitome of comfort. Everytime I bake it it transports me back in time to when I was 7 years old walking home from school during the pinnacle of fall in Beaver, PA. After a long day at school, I remember coming home, opening the door to our house, and instantly being overcome with the smell of bananas, nuts, and sinful sugar baking in the oven. All the cares of my day faded into the background at the thought of a slice of my mom’s banana bread.
My aim in this recipe was to rekindle that childlike excitement, while also swapping out some key ingredients for healthier options. Most classic banana bread recipes call for canola oil, butter, sour cream, and tons of sugar. Bananas already have natural sugar in them, so really my objective was to bring out that natural sweetness without adding cups of sugar. In this recipe, I subbed canola oil for coconut oil (other options include olive oil and higher grade vegetable oil) and combined honey, applesauce and a reduced amount of sugar for natural sweetness. I also did a mixture of white whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour to provide some extra nutrition without sacrificing taste. You definitely could make this recipe with all white whole wheat flour or none at all, it’s totally up to you. But my intent with the flour mixture was to provide a balanced earthiness to the bread that couldn’t be accomplished with all-purpose flour alone.
This loaf boasts a crisp crust that leads into a fluffy center. The cinnamon swirl on the top gussies up the otherwise normal loaf into something spectacular. Light and satisfying without being overly dense, this bread would make a delectable weekend breakfast or afternoon snack. Pair a slice with your morning cup of coffee and some fresh fruit, and breakfast is served! Check out the recipe below and see for yourself why I call this the Best Banana Bread!
Best Banana Bread
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 Tbsp organic cane sugar
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/4 cup milk (2%, almond, coconut, soy)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
Optional: 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease loaf pan.
2. Beat oil, honey, applesauce, and cane sugar together in large bowl with a whisk. Add eggs and beat until incorporated, then mix mashed bananas and milk in.
3. Add baking soda, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to mixture and whisk together. Using a spatula, fold in the flours being careful not to overmix the batter. Fold in nuts at this time.
4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and sprinkle additional cinnamon on top if desired. Using a knife or bamboo skewer, create a swirl or zig-zag pattern with the cinnamon for a gussied up banana bread.
5. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick or bamboo skewer inserted comes out clean. Using a knife, carefully slide the tip around the perimeter of the pan to release the bread. Transfer to a metal cooling rack and let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
This bread is bananas B-A-N-A-N-A-S!