A classic banana nut bread scented with brown butter complete with a domed, cracked top and lots of toasty walnuts.
The internet probably doesn’t need another banana nut bread recipe but I’m throwing this one out there because it’s my dream banana bread! I have a few versions on the site already but not my perfect version with a domed, cracked top, dense but not-too-heavy crumb, and lots of toasty walnuts. It may seem basic but I leveled it up just a little with the addition of deeply browned butter (and I mean, VERY BROWN almost black butter) which gives this loaf extra flavor and will make your kitchen smell amazing while it bakes.
This recipe actually started off with Oh, Ladycakes One Bowl Banana Nut Bread, which is vegan and delicious. Hers is made with coconut oil, no eggs or dairy, and white whole wheat flour, if that’s more your style I urge you to give her version a try! I made a loaf for my family and it was devoured within 48 hours (and there are only 3 of us!). I wanted my recipe to include brown butter because I love it when paired with bananas (or basically anything) and also keep to ingredients I typically have on hand in my pantry (like all-purpose flour, dairy, butter, and eggs), so I translated Ashlae’s version into one that fit my baking style and it worked out great.
Brown it like you mean it! When browning butter don’t be afraid to push it to the limit. You want it to be deeply browned, just on the verge of being burnt. The flavor will be much better and it won’t get lost among the other ingredients.
Be patient. Banana bread takes about an hour to bake. All those bananas make the bread super moist but also makes for a bread that takes a bit of time to bake through.
Don’t ditch the buttermilk. The acid in buttermilk is 100% necessary to activate the baking soda and give this bread it’s rise. Since we aren’t using baking powder in this recipe (which has an added acid in it, giving it rising power) you need to the combination of buttermilk and soda to give this loaf lift. If you don’t have buttermilk, mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1/2 cup of milk to mimic the buttermilk.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, browned and cooled (6oz/170g)
- 4 very ripe bananas (about 1½ cups)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (7oz/200g)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk (4oz/115g)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (13.2oz/375g)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (3oz/90g)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 6-cup loaf pan well.
- Begin by browning the butter. Add the butter to a saucepan and heat over medium-high to melt, stirring occasionally. Once the butter is melted and begins to foam, turn the heat down to medium and stir constantly until the solid bits (we call these “milk solids”) turn deep brown, almost black, and smell like rich, nutty toffee. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool--it can be slightly warm but should not be hot when you mix it into the batter.
- In a large measuring cup, puree the bananas using a stick blender (or mash them well with a fork) and whisk in the sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Set to the side.
- In a mixing bowl whisk the flour, cinnamon, salt, and soda to combine. Fold in the banana mixture and the browned butter until you get a smooth batter. Fold ¾ of the walnuts, reserving ¼ for the top, and spread the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts over the top of the batter and bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean or with very few moist crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. This bread keeps well for a few days wrapped in plastic at room temperature.