I married a man who’s Grandmother is pretty much the best home cook/baker/crafter around. If you have a recipe for chocolate cupcakes, she’s got one that’s better. If you bring her one dozen hand-painted and glittered pine cones (that she requested you make) for her Christmas centerpiece…they will undoubtedly be too small. It’s the thought that counts, right? You get the picture so let’s get back to the banana bread…
Years ago I called Jason’s Nanie to share the exciting news that I had found a delicious and super moist banana bread recipe. The secret ingredient, sour cream! I felt like I had struck gold with this one and was excited to share the recipe with her. It turned out that Nanie had her own banana bread recipe almost identical to mine calling for buttermilk instead of sour cream. She insisted that her banana bread was the best she had ever had. After getting of the phone with me, Nanie made TWO loaves of banana bread, one with her buttermilk recipe and one with mine. She sliced them up, served a piece of each to Jason’s Grandfather, and insisted that he pick the better slice. Jason’s poor Grandfather had no idea what he was getting himself into and picked my recipe as the winner.
I of course heard nothing about the secret taste testing so when Jason’s Grandfather finally told me (in secret) what had happened; I tried my best to contain my excitement. Honestly, it felt like someone had just dropped a pound of gold confetti over my head! And now after years of making my “better than Jason’s Grandmother’s” banana bread, I think I’ve actually made it even tastier. The addition of browned butter and toasted pecans adds a nutty, rich quality to what is already delicious bread. It’s just a good thing that Nanie doesn’t go online much. It’s terribly unladylike to boast!
photos by Leah Bergman
Browned Butter Banana Bread
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 chopped and toasted pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line a loaf pan with parchment; set aside.
2. In a dry pan, toast pecans until fragrant and golden. Cool and chop. Set aside.
3. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool in a small bowl. (Do not over cook as the butter can burn)
4. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix sugar and eggs until incorporated.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the egg mixture, and mix until just combined.
6. In a medium bowl, mash banana and add sour cream, vanilla and browned butter (including browned bits). Add to batter and mix until combined. Stir in toasted pecans.
7. Pour into prepared pan and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 min. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool. Allow to cool completely then wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Note: Resist the temptation to eat same day! Bread is moistest eaten after it has sat at room temperature for at least one day…two is best!