Before this loaf that you see on that in that bread tin, I had never eaten banana bread in my life. Hence, it follows that I had never baked banana bread. I did not know about the toffee-like scent that takes over the house when baking it. And I was totally ignorant towards this open door that lets you make the most of your mushy & overripe bananas. And believe me, there has been a lot of banana waste in my history which I’m very ashamed of.
But now the mistake has been rectified! I do not have to turn myself into a banana person in order to be a banana bread person. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – this delicious sweet bread is the perfect backdoor for people like me who buy bananas just in case but never feel the impulse to eat them as a snack.
Being lost in the Banana Bread World
As a first-timer, I researched quite a bit and got overwhelmed by the best, the BEST EVER, and the multitude of combinations and toppings for banana bread. So I wanted to simplify and went for the very basics by reaching out to Fannie Farmer and the 1940s The Boston Cooking School recipe.
So here that’s what I baked. *There are many editions of Miss Farmer’s Boston Cooking School book and you can explore them on Amazon.
Traditional Banana Bread | Recipe
INGREDIENTS Crush bananas with silver fork. Add eggs, beaten light, sugar, flour sifted with salt and soda, and nut meats. Bake 1 hour in moderately slow oven (325 F). Makes one loaf 5 x 9 inches.
Crush bananas with silver fork. Add eggs, beaten light, sugar, flour sifted with salt and soda, and nut meats. Bake 1 hour in moderately slow oven (325 F). Makes one loaf 5 x 9 inches.
What an easy and inviting recipe I have to say. And a silver fork!
I tried to envision the texture of the loaf and decided not to crush the bananas all the way to smooth. For the nutmeats, I had pecans which I also chopped quite randomly.
When sifting the flour, I caught myself insecure because making banana bread feels much like making a cake. But I trusted Fannie and played along adding more flour. I greased the bread pan and baked for 1 hour at 160°C / 320°F.
I left the bread in the pan to cool off before removing it to rest for another 20 minutes on a cooling tray. This waiting is almost an impossible task when the sweet floating aromas test your patience not to have a slice already!
But while waiting, I got this idea to try my usual carrot cake cream cheese topping for banana bread as well. This sweet spread comes quickly by combining cream cheese with powdered sugar and a little bit of butter. Finally, I added the rest of the pecan nuts to the cheese mix.
The First Bite of Banana Bread
The first bite was amazing! I enjoyed a slice with the sweet cheese spread. I must admit that I was suspicious of all of this until the very end and I was not prepared for how good it would be. I’ll repeat myself telling you that it t was AMAZING.
I think I’m on a beautiful banana bread journey now. And so is my husband whose first reaction when seeing the modest bread baking in the oven really epitomes our starting point: “Ugh..” And the journey from ugh to yummy can sometimes be just one recipe away, thanks so much, Fannie! We enjoyed banana bread in the morning and with coffee as well as an afternoon snack.
By the way, what’s your favorite moment of the week to have banana bread?
P.S. I was a bit nervous to share my oblivious attitude towards this American classic on Instagram but hey such things happen to other people too. :D
Need more sweet vintage inspiration? Why not try these recipes!
Vintage Marshmallows from the Candy Cook Book 1918 | Recipe
Cardamom spiced Runeberg’s Torte | A classic Finnish decadent pastry | Recipe
I fell in love with Fannie farmer during a period of rather unexpected house-sitting . The farm house was old, cold, and far off in the snowy wv mountains. . I spent more time that winter baking than ever before and the cookbook in the cupboard was Fannie farmer. I was suspicious as well, after all if something sounds too good to be true it probably is right? Not always ?. I like to use 1/2 butter and 1)2 coconut oil. I find coconut oil gives some things a butterier taste. Thanks so much for posting!
Thanks so much for sharing the coconut oil tip! I will definitely try that :)
Like Laurie above, I’ve been making this banana bread recipe for years. In my case, almost 30. And my Fanny Farmer cookbook is also slightly falling apart. It was a gift to me from my late mother way back when. It was her favorite starter cookbook, too, probably in the 1960s. What I love about this recipe is that it is truly a “sweet bread” of sorts and not a wanna be banana cake, like most banana bread recipes. I suppose you either love the denseness or not. I love it. I do always use the nuts. The only tweak I’ve ever made to this recipe is to lower the sugar slightly or to use 50% sugar and 50% sugar substitute (like Swerve or Truvia). It works out fine and is still sufficiently sweet for many.
What a wonderful treasure you have Elaine! I can hear what you say, I do prefer the denseness of the texture even though it didn’t make sense when baking the recipe for the first time. Now that I have more experience with the banana bread concept overall, I always come back to this recipe too. Thank you for the tip of using the sugar substitute! :)
I have been making Farmers banana bread for 40 years. It’s the only recipe I will use. My poor book is falling apart, so it’s nice that it is posted and I can find it easier than going through the recipe book. I do add the melted butter and I won’t make it without the butter. It adds another layer of richness and moisture to the bread. It doesn’t last long in my house. My daughter doesn’t like the nuts, but prefers chocolate chips. I like chocolate chunks sometimes. All in all, an excellent recipe.
Thanks for sharing Laurie :) I love this recipe and have made variations with whatever happens to be in the pantry at the time. I must say that this pecan version I baked the first time ever is still my number one choice haha.