Just like everyone else, I also have a long list my tried and tested [and improved!] banana bread recipes but that does not stop me from tinkering with a new recipe whenever I have some ageing bananas around. While I am not adverse to nuts in my banana bread, I tend to sidestep walnuts in favor of pecans or hazelnuts. Similarly, instead of chocolate chips, I will invariably resort to chopped dark chocolate or even Nutella because they melt to form larger pockets of chocolaty goodness. This particular recipe is part of the Bon Appétit collection of baking essentials and gets its signature taste from the earthy tones of unrefined dark brown sugar. A liberal dose of mascarpone cheese helps to keep the texture moist without the batter turning dense or sticky which, I believe, can only be the hallmark of a ‘best’ banana bread.

BA’s BEST BANANA BREAD

Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup mascarpone or Greek yogurt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

4 large very ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 8 ½” x 4½” loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment.

  • Leave a generous overhang on long sides. Whisk flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.

  • Using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the brown sugar, mascarpone, and butter in a bowl.

  • Beat till light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition.

  • Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Reduce speed, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.

  • Add bananas and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate and walnuts. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

  • Smooth top and bake bread until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, for 60-65 minutes.

  • Transfer pan to a wire rack and let bread cool in pan 1 hour. Turn out bread and let it cool completely.

Bon Appetit’s Best Banana Bread