Banana bread is the Lego's of the baking world. With a little imagination, you can build almost anything. It's for breakfast. It's for dessert. And it's for in-between.
I'm ready to try some pan fried banana bread for breakfast. I'm thinking French fried banana bread sticks in a fruity dipping sauce. And I'm going to try pancakes made with banana bread batter.
I'm always up for banana bread smeared with cream cheese. The little strawberry cream cheese sandwiches in the image above are very good at lunchtime. Or with a glass of milk just before bedtime. It doesn't stop.
But the banana bread has to be unstoppable. Here are four tips for unstoppable banana bread.
Start with very ripe bananas. Squishy ripe bananas have two to three times the flavor of ripe bananas. We let our leftover bananas get black and then freeze them.
Add a teaspoon of banana flavor. It doesn’t matter how ripe the bananas are, banana flavor will make your bread or muffins a little better. We put banana flavor in our mixes.
Add cinnamon chips. Get a burst of sweet cinnamon in every bite. Cinnamon chips make an amazing difference.
Refrigerate your bread. Wrap your bread and refrigerate it overnight. After chilling, the banana bread is easier to cut into nice, uniform slices, it holds together better, and it just plain tastes better.
Ideas for Your Leftover Banana Bread
Idea #1: Peanut Butter & Jelly Banana Bread Sandwiches
Yep, it's what it says it is. The peanut butter is chunky, the 100% peanut type. You're not going to believe this--the jelly, that's Bubblegum Jelly. We can' even get it anymore. So, go for Pomegranate Jelly. I would go for that.
Idea #2: Banana Bread with a Cream Cheese Spread
That's those little sandwiches above again. It's strawberry cream cheese.
You can buy a cream cheese and berry spread in the grocery store but it’s easy to make your own. Simply whip jam into softened cream cheese and sweeten to taste.
But I made a cream cheese spread with apricot pancake syrup. It was very good.
Idea #3: Banana Bread French Toast
This is one of the best ideas on the planet—banana bread French toast.
Make it like regular French toast only don’t soak it long in the egg wash—it tends to fall apart. Chilling the banana bread in the refrigerator overnight helps. Use a spatula, not a fork, to handle it.
And don't use maple syrup. Too much, too overpowering of a flavor. And that's not my first choice with all those cinnamon chips.
That's a buttermilk syrup that you see. It's very caramelly/butterscotchy. Or maybe try a sweet peach syrup. That would meld well with bananas.
Oh, and that whipped cream--it's not vanilla either. My favorite whipped cream is caramel whipped cream. Add one to two teaspoons of caramel flavor to two cups of heavy whipping cream. Use brown sugar instead of white granulated.
Idea #4: Banana Bread ala Mode
Ice cream fixes everything. You can still drizzle syrup over it. And some chopped pecans will give it a little crunch.
Don't quit. Try making a cake out of your banana bread. Bake it in a bundt pan, a smaller pan, and drizzle a glaze over it.
You'll never run out of ways to use your banana bread.
The Prepared Pantry Banana Bread Recipe
In case you don’t have a banana bread mix on hand, here’s a scratch recipe.
We took a great banana bread recipe and made it better two ways: with cinnamon chips and banana flavor. Don’t think of leaving either out; it won’t be the same. Be sure and use dark, really ripe bananas.
This recipe makes two loaves.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups very ripe bananas (about five bananas)
1 teaspoon banana bread
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch baking pans or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together the eggs and sugar. Stir in mashed bananas, banana flavor, vegetable oil, and cinnamon.
- Stir in the flour mixture, a third at a time, until just combined. Gently fold in the cinnamon chips.
- Divide batter into the two prepared pans. Bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean.
- Cool the bread for about ten minutes and then gently remove the bread from the pans. Let it cool completely on wire racks. Place the bread in plastic bags and chill the bread in the refrigerator.