My friend, Janet, is an incredible cook who has influenced my culinary journey in countless ways over the 21 years I’ve known her. Thankfully we lived near her in California for 10 years so whenever she invited us to join her family for dinner and a swim, we always said “YES” and then, “do you mean all of us”? With our 7 kids, that was 9 extra mouths to feed but Janet didn’t even flinch. Needless to say, there was never a dull moment as everyone gathered in her kitchen laughing and helping with the feast. Picture “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” minus the wedding!
Janet’s approach to food is simple, hearty, creative and clean. Roasted sweet potatoes with onions, unique soups (using her homemade chicken broth posted here), meat grilled to perfection, gourmet salads and delectable deserts were always plentiful. Janet has a gift for making simple food extra special. And, somehow she could put on these huge dinners without collapsing on the couch afterwards (which is exactly where you’d find me, in a food coma).
I also loved those calls from Janet, “Hey Liz, I made a pot of soup, you wanna come over?” Um, yes. One particular day, Janet had crafted a banana bread that literally melted in your mouth. Not only was it moist and flavorful, it had streusel topping, with chocolate chips and walnuts inside! When I asked for the recipe she couldn’t produce it. In true Janet style, she looked at various recipes and created her own by tweaking this and adding that. Not wanting to lose my opportunity for future happiness, I had her tell me exactly what she did, wrote it down and even named it for her. And that’s how Best Ever Banana Bread came to be!
Just look at how Best Ever Banana Bread rises into a beautiful golden dome…
Yes, I had to make it without the streusel topping, chocolate chips and walnuts because I’m pre-diabetic…but just look at those tempting slices of banana bread!
What’s at the root of Best Ever Banana Bread? Great memories, ‘made from-scratch’ comfort food and the best banana bread you have ever tasted!
Best Ever Banana Bread
- 2 cups mashed bananas
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Combine mashed bananas, eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir together flour, sugar, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle streusel nut topping over batter (see recipe below). Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes for 9x5x3 pan or 40-45 minutes of 7½x3½x2 pans.
Streusel Nut Topping: In small bowl combine ¼ cup packed brown sugar and 3 T flour. Cut in 2 T butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional). Sprinkle on top of batter before baking.
- To reduce calories and carbs, omit the streusel topping, chocolate chips and nuts and the bread is still perfect. I also tested with ¾ cup sugar and it was plenty sweet. However, to appreciate this recipe in it’s original glory, add all the stuff!
- Coconut, olive or avocado oil are the healthiest options to use in cooking and baking. I use melted coconut oil in this recipe and it works really well. Here’s my post about the best oils for cooking.
- If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, add ½ T white vinegar or lemon juice to your measuring cup, then add the milk to reach ½ cup. Let sit for 5 minutes until thickened.
- Other add-in ideas: blueberries, additional spices, zucchini, ground flax seed or raisins.
Free banana picture courtesy of pixabay.com!