Dirty bananas?

When they reach a certain age, they’re perfect for banana bread.


On my usual weekend perusal (never let an opportunity to use that word go by) of “healthy” online recipes, I went a bit off the rails, and opted to use up three large bananas whose skins were more brown than yellow. My search led me to this recipe for banana bread at loveandlemons.com, one of my favorite food sites.

This one doesn’t fall into the healthy category, even though I like to pretend that brown sugar is better for you than white cane sugar (it is not). I was happy to use the bananas rather than throw them out. It makes me feel somewhat virtuous knowing I’ve used them up; I do the same making applesauce with the spotted apples we can’t seem to eat fast enough.

Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand, and as fate would have it, also had about a half-cup of milk chocolate chips I knew I’d eat late at night while watching detective shows if I didn’t toss them in the banana bread batter. (I had walnuts, but decided not to use them, thinking they’d only get in the way of the chocolate.)

I can’t remember the last time I baked anything other than frozen french fries, so this was a nice weekend activity. The baking sweet bread filled my chilly kitchen with warm smells. And as I sit typing on Sunday morning, I just wrapped the remaining half of the loaf and put it in the freezer. It was so delicious that I know I cannot be trusted with the rest.

Banana Walnut Bread

2 cups mashed very ripe banana, about 4 large (I used 3, and it worked just fine)
½ cup cane sugar or brown sugar
½ cup melted butter or vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup chopped walnuts, plus 2 Tbsp. for topping

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and grease an 8-by-4- or 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined. Don’t overmix. Fold in the ½ cup walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of walnuts.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top springs back to the touch.