A classic Banana Bread recipe from my recipe box updated with greek yogurt and caramelized bananas
My husband and I enjoy eating bananas year round. They sit in the same spot on our dining room buffet and we grab them for quick energy on the go. Sometimes though, the bananas are ignored for a day or two, becoming overripe, and we realize there is no way we are finishing those less than perfect spotted bananas. To avoid trashing the fruit, baking a Classic Banana Bread is a way to salvage two bananas per loaf.
I love to take a classic recipe, tried and true, and update with new flavors and baking techniques. My husband rolls his eyes when I start down this road, as he prefers to stick with a good thing, or a good recipe as the case is here. I got the idea, though, to caramelize the bananas with brown sugar and butter, adding a sprinkle of cinnamon. Also, the sour cream of my classic banana bread recipe adds tang and moisture, how about substituting greek yogurt?
So that’s what happened in my kitchen yesterday, a beautiful fall day in October, when I was craving the aroma of cinnamon and brown sugar, and noticed a couple ignored bananas sitting on the counter ripening past their golden yellow prime.
I located an old “classic” banana bread recipe in my recipe box. Yes, I still use a little wooden box with index cards for a lot of my recipes. My new recipes reside in a neat folder on my laptop and are backed up to a separate hard drive. I planned for awhile to “someday” convert all the hand written recipes to digital storage, but I never got around to it, so I think now, why bother? I like thumbing through my index cards, the memories coming to the surface with each recipe. Baking has always been a large part of my family life, starting with learning to bake pies and bread with my mother and sister in our farmhouse and later baking thousands of classic homestyle cookies in our family cookie business. I like reading the printed words on cards and it’s easy to see my favorites from the wear and tear of the cards! Although we’ve closed the cookie business and I’ve retired from commercial baking, I still love to bake.
I’m very happy with the results of this updated Banana Bread recipe. I began caramelizing the bananas by slicing 2 medium bananas, adding brown sugar & butter, and then a sprinkle of cinnamon into a small saucepan. I heated the mixture on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture was golden brown and slightly syrupy. The bananas should be softened, but not mushy. At this point, the aroma of this caramelized mixture was driving me crazy and I did try a few bites. I really could have stopped here, pulled out the vanilla ice cream from the freezer and sat down to dessert! So, if your plan is just to use a few overripe bananas, I highly recommend this route. A half shot of rum added to this mixture and you’d have a gourmet ice cream dessert and avoid turning on your oven!
However delicious ice cream and a version of caramelized bananas sounds, yesterday, I was determined to bake Banana Bread. So I took the heated bananas off the stove to cool and went on to cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour along with baking soda and salt. Once the sugary banana mixture cooled, ( I was in a hurry as usual, so I cooled the saucepan at room temperature for about 5 minutes, then stuck the whole pan into my fridge to finish cooling ), I added the mixture to my mixing bowl and continued mixing until combined.
I finished the recipe by adding the dry ingredients alternating with greek yogurt. I love the tang and moisture that Greek yogurt brings to a recipe, and the thickness of the yogurt added to the bulk of this batter. I poured the batter into a buttered loaf pan and baked in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes. The banana bread should be a dark golden brown when done baking. Underbaked banana bread would not be good.
Once the bread has baked and cooled, slicing with a sharp knife and adding a dollop of softened butter or cream cheese is all you have left to do. Enjoy!
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Classic, old fashioned recipes with “new flavors” are my passion and I bake frequently to share them.
- Carmelize Bananas:
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup ripe bananas (2 medium)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Banana Bread:
- ½ cup butter (1 stick)
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups unbleached, all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plain Greek Yogurt
- Begin by slicing ripe bananas and adding to small saucepan.
- Add 2 Tablespoons butter and ¼ cup brown sugar to the mixture and heat on medium low heat until bananas soften and the mixture becomes syrupy and golden, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle cinnamon over mixture and stir to incorporate.
- Set aside to cool. ( I set mine in the fridge to hasten cooling time)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a mixing bowl, cream ½ cup softened butter and white sugar.
- Add eggs and vanilla and mix together.
- Add COOLED banana mixture and beat until well combined.
- After combining dry ingredients of flour, baking soda and salt, add to the wet mixture, alternating with yogurt and mix just until mixed together.
- Pour batter into buttered 9x5 inch loaf pan.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour