Banana Bread, reexamined


One could probably argue there isn’t much of a need for another banana bread recipe in this wold, but it’s one of my favorite things on earth that I feel deserves attention and variations. Sometimes I have bananas around and the stars align so that I happen to have all of the ingredients to make it, and recently I had all that and a few more things I thought could be added so I gave it a go. Here are some things that make this recipe different: honey instead of refined sugar, browned butter, a bit of rolled oats, chopped dates, and a pistachio and sea salt topping. The topping is probably what makes it, but no topping would make a gross bread delicious, so.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup butter, browned
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (not super important if you don’t have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped
  • corse sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Melt your butter in a skillet until it foams, swirling the pan, until the foam disappears and starts to brown – it’s done when it turns a caramel color, don’t let it go past this or it will burn. Pour into a bowl with the honey, mix well and let it cool for a minute. Add mashed bananas, vanilla, and eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients (dry + dates) and mix until just combined. Pour into a greased loaf pan (I used 3 mini pans) or muffin pan. Sprinkle the pistachios across the top(s) and then sprinkle sea salt across the top – more or less depending on your preference (I like a lot!). If your pistachios are salted, you will only need a tiny bit of sea salt. I find baking times for breads all over the place, so, 50-60 minutes for a regular loaf, 35-45 for mini loafs, 25-35 minutes for muffins. The toothpick test isn’t always accurate as you want them to be a touch wet as they will solidify on your counter, so just see if you can lift the loaf a little in the pan to see how brown the edges are and if the bottom is done. Baking intuition!

This bread is amazing plain, but also smeared with peanut or almond butter, or a fried egg on top.