Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dad's Banana Bread

This is the banana bread I  grew up with.  At home, the recipe is an ancient computer print-out, folded in half, stained with various spilled ingredients.  I cannot even imagine what would have happened if that recipe had ever come to harm or been lost.  It certainly ought to qualify for "family heirloom" status.  I considered it a significant step on the path to adulthood when I got a copy of the recipe from my dad.

This banana bread has ruined me for all other banana bread.  It took me a long time to come to grips with this.  I grew up loving banana bread, because this is the only kind I ever ate.  I always just assumed that all banana bread was this good.  Alas, it's not.  Other banana breads inevitably disappoint.

This recipe will make all other banana breads pale in comparison.  You will never again be satisfied by just any old recipe.  Is it worth it?  Oh yeah.

Here's what goes into it.  On the dry side: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves.  The cloves are a big part of the magic - every time I smell them my mind leaps right to this bread and my mouth starts watering.

The wet stuff is sugar, egg whites, margarine, bananas, and vanilla.  There's a strict three-banana minimum, but four-ish is to be preferred.  As always, the gushier and better-ripened the bananas, the better.  Mine weren't nearly as gushy as is ideal, but I'm impatient.  If you knew how good this bread is, you wouldn't want to wait a few more days for it either.

First, mix the dry stuff in a medium mixing bowl.

I think I'll submit this shot to some juried shows.  I call it "Dry."

Next, the fun part.  Mix up all that wet stuff.  Break the bananas up on their way into the bowl, then give them a good smashing.  Not too fine, mind you - part of the magic of the bread is that there are some nice gooey banana bits intermixed.  I use the back of a slotted spoon and it comes out just about perfect.

When the wet stuff looks about like this, you're ready to move on.  Forget about "mix well."  If ever there were a time to "mix poorly," this is it.

Now dump your dry bowl into the wet.  This time, mix well and make sure everything is nicely combined.  You could probably just eat the batter from a spoon at this point.  It's worth baking, though, trust me.  Do feel free to like the spatula, though, if raw egg whites don't creep you out too much.

Pour that beautiful batter into a greased bundt pan.  I can't use a bundt pan without paying tiny homage to the "It's a bundt!" scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Don't judge me.

The batter will look tiny and insignificant compared to the power of the force  down there in the pan, but don't worry.  It will grow up big and strong with the help of a 350 degree oven.

See!  35-40 minutes at 350 brings you this beautiful creature.  Baking time can vary quite a bit, since you're working with fruit at varying levels of ripeness (and therefore water content and chemical composition).  Check at 35 minutes, but it usually takes about 40 to reach that perfect color.

Flip out of the bundt pan onto a plate and let cool for 10 minutes or so before serving.  This will be the longest 10 minutes of your day, because that smell is a killer.  Slice and serve when you can no longer stand it.

If you want to profane the beauty of your creation, I suppose you could spread some butter on it.  But, really: don't.  This recipe will be perfectly moist and flavorful without any such desecration.  However, it is overwhelmingly likely that you'll never enjoy any other banana bread quite the same way again.


Recipe: Dad's Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes   |   Cook Time: 35-40 Minutes   |   Difficulty: Easy   |   Servings: 4-6.


  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking Powder
  • .5 tsp Baking Soda
  • .5 tsp cinnamon
  • .5 tsp cloves
  • Pinch Salt
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • .5 cup Margarine, melted
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3-4 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan.

Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl.  Increase cinnamon and cloves to a full teaspoon if desired.  Set aside.

In large bowl, mix margarine, egg whites, sugar, bananas, and vanilla.  Mash bananas and mix until still chunky.

Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and mix well.

Bake in greased bundt for 35-40 min at 350 degrees.  Let stand 10 minutes to cool.  Devour.


  1. I always thought my banana bread was the best, but this recipe puts mine to shame. I have every intention of eating this as often as possible.

  2. Just made this now - gotta cool for a bit before I can taste it, but my house smells amazing! The cloves, it's all about the cloves...

  3. Can you leave the yolks with the eggs?