The Ultimate Banana Bread

A few years ago, I had the world’s best boss. Not only was he a great mentor, but he was (and still is) a great friend. We have many things in common — a love of food being one of them. For Christmas one year, he gave me Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything — a definite must-have for anyone who spends any time in the kitchen. It’s the only cookbook I consistently use and — in my opinion — is the best one available.

Within its pages lies this banana bread recipe, which Bittman himself describes as “the ultimate.” And really, who’s gonna argue with that? Outrageously moist inside with a tender crust on the outside, this banana bread really is the bomb. And as if it weren’t good enough on its own, I like mine toasted and slathered with peanut butter. Don’t judge.

The Ultimate Banana Bread

From Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

What you need:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus some for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

How you do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients. With an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar, then slowly beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla.
  3. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat just until combined, being sure to scrape down the edges of the bowl a few times. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread will come out fairly clean when it is done, but because of the bananas this bread will remain moister than most. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

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26 thoughts on “The Ultimate Banana Bread

  1. I love banana bread oh so very much but the little monsters that I love so much eat all the bananas before I have a chance to make it! The last time I made banana bread (i spirited a few bananas away in the freezer) I think I used a combination of apple sauce and oil but I must try it with butter. You know, since butter makes everything better.

    • It’s definitely the butter. The original recipe calls for a half cup of shredded coconut, too. I’ve done it before and it’s delicious, but I wasn’t in the coconut mood this time. I think it helps with the moistness (is that a word?) as well.

  2. Alright, you’ve put it out there, so I have to try it! Ultimate and banana bread sound like they are meant to go together. I can’t wait to try it :)

  3. This looks really good. I love the idea of adding chocolate chips! Good thing I have a few bananas getting past their prime on my counter!

  4. Mmm…chocolate chips in banana bread? I won’t argue with that! And yes, I agree, Mark Bittman’s books are amazing. I have his How To Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook. I also want to get the one you have, even tho some of the recipes coincide.

  5. this banana bread recipe is fantastic! added blueberries instead of chocolate and it was amazing! will definitely go by Bittman’s book. thanks for posting…

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