I only eat green bananas. Seriously. I don't mean that dark green where the banana snaps and it's like eating dry foam, but that bright, springy green with promising shades of yellow. Still the shade that just about everyone else would say "oh these aren't ripe yet." These bananas aren't mushy, you have to bite them, they're not too sweet and there aren't any brown spots on them. (I won't eat a banana with brown spots.) When bananas turn their normal banana yellow, they're good, but they're on their way out to me. The second they get a brown oval spot on their skin, into the freezer they go for smoothies, cakes, or this incredible banana bread.
My family and I have been on an endless hunt to discover the best banana bread. We always have bananas in the house, so that means that banana bread is always being made. My brother and father like theirs with extra chocolate chips, my mother and I prefer little to no chocolate chips, and maybe a small smear of peanut butter on top. If the bread is too moist, then the consistency is too mushy and feels raw. Too dry, and it's like banana sandpaper. This family thinks they are world class banana bread connoisseurs.
After a couple of days on vacation, we came back to a bunch of bananas that were perfect for bread, and I had this banana bread recipe burning a hole in my New York Times Cooking Recipe Box. It's incredibly simple – the original recipe only has 10 ingredients, but mine has just a little bit more. I threw a splash of bourbon in the mix to really kick up the flavor, and threw some mini chocolate chips in to please all of the family. I also upped the salt in the recipe, because with so many powerful flavors, I didn't want them to muddle together. Salt separates them each beautifully. Banana bread is a blank canvas; add in chocolate chips, nuts, peanut butter chips, espresso powder, fall spices, anything and it'll taste good.
Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread
For the streusel...
- 1/4 cup roughly smashes walnuts
- 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips (optional)
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
For the bread...
- 1 stick of salted butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp bourbon
- 5 ripe medium bananas
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup mini chips (optional)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp table salt
Preheat the oven to 350º F, and line a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with butter. Prepare the streusel by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Cream butter until fluffy, about 3 to five minutes. Add the sugar, beating for another two minutes, before adding the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla, bourbon, bananas, and mini chips if using, and beat until small chunks remain. Note: it will not be a smooth consistency – do not over-mix! Stir the dry ingredients into the batter, and pour into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the streusel on top in an even coating, and bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 10 to 15 minutes before carefully turning out on a cooling sheet.
Enjoy this bread at room temperature. The flavor of the bourbon really amps up the day after – I think it's best to make this bread a day in advance before eating. But, if you're like me, you'll make it and end up eating half of it same day.
My name is Alexandra Jade, but you can call me Alex, or Trin. I am a Food Studies major at New York University, and a freelance photographer, journalist, and social media pro on the side. I run the instagram account @twobrunchgirls.