I love bananas. Not only are they delicious, but they’re accessible and go well with pretty much anything. I have yet to meet anyone who hates bananas (besides Ree but I’ve never met her, though). I am down to eat bananas in any shape, way or form; except when they’re brown and spotty. I know what you’re thinking; “that’s when bananas are their best because they’re super soft and super sweet” but I don’t like eating them straight up when they’re at that stage. When they are, they’re closer to death via trash can than being eaten.
When picking my bananas, I try to get them as green as possible so that they’ll ripen to my liking at home. I find that the bright yellow bananas at the supermarket get all spotty and close to death when I bring them home quicker than the greener ones. I like my bananas bright yellow, with the slightest tinge of green because they’re not too sweet but a bit tart, starchy, and delicious. I’ll even eat them plain yellow and with minimal spots but as soon as they start getting really spotty and turn black, they’re dead to me.
The last hand of nanners we brought home got spotty fairly quickly. I’m not sure why it happened so fast but I purposely let a pair of them get even closer to their death; right before any fruit flies showed up for the funeral. I had been dying to make banana bread (heh no pun intended), so I took advantage of the situation. It’s one of the two ways I’ll eat a banana on its death bed; the other being in a smoothie. Even though I needed a third for this recipe, I trucked on with my two lonely, almost dead nanners.
I chose this recipe for one reason and one reason only: there’s booze in here! If you know me, you’ll know how much I love putting liquor in almost everything I bake. The irony here is that I barely drink. I raid my dad’s liquor cabinet regularly when baking. He hates it but I do it anyway! My mom got a bottle of Jim Beam Honey Bourbon for Christmas, which he swiftly added to his collection since she’s not much of a liquor drinker. I’m not much of a drinker either but when I saw this, I had to taste it. I’ve heard a lot of good things about bourbon, and wanted to see what the fuss was all about. I popped open the bottle and took a swig. It was warm, sweet and went down easy. I think the best thing about drinking liquor straight up is that warming sensation it leaves going down your throat, and this stuff definitely does that! We still had a bit left in the bottle, so I threw some of it in the batter.
The banana bread loaf came out a bit short, probably because I only used two bananas, but it was delicious. The loaf developed this beautiful brown crust that covered the soft and tender cake. The bananas are front and center, bringing their distinct taste and sweetness forward. Although it is virtually undetectable, the honey bourbon added just a tiny extra bit of sweetness to the bread that you just can’t get from sugar. Overall, it was just yummy. I fought my impulse of wanting to add chocolate chunks but I may have to next time. Toasted walnuts would also go extremely well in this cake.
I don’t know what it is about banana bread, but it makes me want to intentionally kill all my bananas just so I can make more!
Deb’s Jacked Up Banana Bread – adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 2 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 3/4 light brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon honey bourbon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Up to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix.
- Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.
- Like nuts in your banana bread? Throw them in! Toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans would work fabulously in here. Same goes with chocolate chunks (just don’t toast them!)
- Want a super chocolatey banana bread loaf? Deb got your back.
- I used honey bourbon but feel free to use whatever dark rum you have, or leave it out entirely if you’d like.
- The original recipe uses 1/3 cup of salted butter. If using, omit the 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Did you notice this is a one bowl wonder?