They say a way to a woman’s heart is some diamonds, but my mom and I would disagree.
Growing up, bakeries were one of our favorite places to spend our time; this held true in South Korea, where I was born, and in Fresno, where I was raised. Naturally, we both have a (somewhat) concerning obsession with baked goods, so much so that I think we’ve invented a sixth love language of bread.
All throughout high school, I loved baking for my friends. Difficult exam? Cookies. Harsh teacher? Pie. Breakup? Brownies. But most of all, I loved baking banana bread with my mom. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment we started baking banana bread every Sunday to pack to work or school, but it’s solidified into a comfortable ritual ever since. We’ve cycled through hundreds of banana bread recipes in search of the best one. While my mom’s not so picky, I’ve come to spot which recipes produce spongy banana bread, which ones produce dry banana bread, and which ones seem flat out illegal, and mentally removed them from my radar. With the extra time at home due to stay-at-home orders, I think we’ve found our favorite one.
My parents have been working extremely long hours for as long as I can remember, so it’s these small moments—the 14 minutes it takes to prepare the loaf pan and the 55 minutes it takes to bake the bread—that I appreciate the most, that I get to know my mom better, and that I can share the love with other people in gentle ways.
While the world seems to be changing at an unremitting speed nowadays, I hope that you and your family can make spending quality time a constant, and perhaps try out this recipe during those moments. No matter what the way to your heart is—whether it’s a golden retriever, a new outfit, or an actual diamond ring—this banana bread may be a serious contender.
Ingredients you’ll need:
· ½ cup butter, softened
· ¾ cup sugar (adjust this depending on how sweet you want your bread; extra ripe bananas means you can probably add less sugar!)
· 2 eggs
· A splash of vanilla extract
· LOTS of cinnamon
· 1 ½ cups flour
· 1 tsp baking soda
· ½ tsp salt
· ½ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (makes the bread moist)
· 2-4 very ripe bananas
· Chopped up nuts of your choice (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)
**Special note: many of these ingredients can be substituted to fit your dietary needs! For example, you may use gluten-free flour, almond flour, etc./vegan butter/flax eggs, and more! This recipe has room for creativity :)**
To make the magic happen:
· Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
· In a bowl, stir/cream together the butter and the sugar. Then, add the eggs and vanilla.
· Fold in the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
· Add the life-changing ingredient: sour cream/Greek yogurt.
· Fold in the mashed bananas.
· Either add in the chopped nuts or sprinkle them over the top.
· Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease the pan with butter/coconut oil (whatever is on hand) and spread the batter evenly into the pan!
· Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for ten minutes
Photo credit: Canva.com