When we lived in the States, I used to babysit for a Finnish-American family with three sweet under 4-year-olds. Let me tell you, all of those kids absolutely loved bananas. There would always be a huge bunch of them sitting on the kitchen counter and the kids would munch on them whenever given one. Sometimes, though, it happened that a few of those bananas went brown. Those times, the mom would bake banana bread that, in my opinion, was the best of them all.
Somehow, though, I never got the recipe. Since moving back to Finland, I have been making banana bread every now and then, trying different recipes to find the right one, like hers. Finally, a few months back, a friend of mine had baked banana bread and to my surprise, it tasted very much like the banana bread I had been craving for so long.
Bananas in this household usually get brown and baked into something. I buy bananas every now and then, usually for running fuel, or sometimes Grandma gives me a bunch. Often I manage to eat only one or two before they are sitting forgotten in a corner, getting brown. Yet, I find it difficult to feel bad about this because brown, spotty bananas mean delicious baked goods. And those baked goods are made without guilt because hey, those bananas really needed to be used.
This banana bread is sweet with a hint of caramel, thanks to the brown sugar and vanilla. The spices come through just so, deepening the sweetness and the flavour of the bananas. It is somewhat dense, yet with a soft, tender crumb. You can skip the crumb topping if you want more of a breakfast-like banana bread; for me, this (like all banana breads) falls into the dessert category and the crumb topping is more than welcome.
adapted from Allrecipes
makes 1 (9x5-inch) loaf and a few muffins OR 2 smaller (7x4-inch) loaves
I halved the original recipe as it is rare that I would have 6 very ripe bananas at the same time. If at any point you do have, though, I'd suggest making the whole recipe (that is, doubling this recipe), yielding three (9x5-inch) loaves, and freezing one or two.
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
90g (6 tbsp) butter
3/4 to 1 cup white sugar (depending how sweet you like)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
225g sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
a good pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of cloves
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
40g cold salted butter
Preheat oven to 160C (325F). In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp white sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Grease a loaf pan (or pans) and dust it with the cinnamon sugar.
In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s).
In a small bowl, rub together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and cold butter until the mixture resembles sand. Sprinkle the crumb on the top. Bake the 9x5-inch loaf for about 1 hour 15 minutes, 7x4-inch loaf for about 1 hour and muffins for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.