Tag Archives: banana bread

Espresso Banana Walnut Bread

My husband mildly hates bananas, but really, really hates coffee, so he can’t complain that I am trying to make him fat with this bread. I’m using my favorite banana bread recipe, making adjustments for the coffee. [Pause while I do the math.]

Turns out I didn’t need the math. I just added one teaspoon of instant espresso powder and 2 tablespoons of prepared espresso from my single-serve coffee machine, and waited to see how the batter looked. It looked a little too wet, so I threw in about 2-4 tablespoons more flour (without measuring) to get the thick batter that I like for a nut bread.

The bread smelled wonderfully toasty as it baked, not really like coffee, but smoky, I’d say. Since I’m the only one eating it, I’m doing what I prefer to do with nut bread—wrapping it tight and waiting until tomorrow to cut it. See you then.

I’m back and really surprised by this nut bread. I waited the overnight before cutting it, because nut bread flavors develop over time, probably because of the nuts and fruit, if using fruit. I thought, because of the baking smells that the espresso might predominate, but I don’t taste it at all in the finished bread. What I do taste is a heightened banana flavor. We all know that coffee heightens chocolate flavors in baked goods, but I didn’t think that it might do that with other flavors. This calls for more experimentation, right after I eat another piece of this bread with a big schmear of butter.

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Espresso Banana Walnut Bread

  • Servings: makes one 9 x 5 loaf or two smaller ones
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; grease and flour one large or two small bread pans.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 ripe bananas—mine were average sized bananas

2 eggs

2 tablespoons prepared espresso, slightly cooled

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2-1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Break up bananas into pieces and beat into butter/sugar mixture until the bananas are pretty much mashed into the batter.
  3. Beat in eggs.
  4. Add the espressos and vanilla, beating on low until combined.
  5. Beat in dry ingredients, adding a little more flour if you think the batter is too thin. I added between 2-4 tablespoons more flour to compensate for the extra liquid of the prepared espresso. A nut bread batter, like a muffin batter, should be thick.
  6. Stir in walnuts until well distributed.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan or pans and bake for 45-50 minutes. I used the single large loaf pan and needed about 1 hour for it to be done in the center, but watch the edges for too much browning. I can’t stand a burnt crust on nut bread. I’d rather the center finished cooking on the counter than have a burnt crust.

Cool the bread in the baking pan on a rack for at least a half hour, before turning out to continue cooling. Wrap tightly in foil overnight before slicing.

Question: Can you eat a coffee bread with a cup of tea?

Quick Banana Bread

I like this banana bread partly because it has no baking powder, which I think in the case of banana bread is too bitter. This recipe only uses baking soda and eggs for leavening and it comes out with just the right sweetness and banana flavor. It is a simple—or quick as the recipe says—and straightforward banana bread with nothing fancy, although I pumped this one up a bit with a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste in addition to a teaspoon of vanilla.

The original recipe comes from a community cookbook called Angels and Friends (1981), from a group affiliated with the Easter Seal Society in Youngstown, Ohio. I also have the second edition (1991), but used the first edition much more. It’s one of those books where members contribute recipes. I have no idea if the recipes are original or not, but I suspect they were just collected by these people or handed down in their families. Remember when there was no Internet? They list four editions of the cookbooks on their site that are apparently still available: http://www.easterseals.com/mtc/get-involved/angels-of-easter-seals-cookbooks/

The first time I made this bread, probably in the 1980s, there was obviously something wrong with it, which I figured out and fixed. Luckily I didn’t just look for another recipe—fixing it paid off. As you can see, I jotted down the fix of salt and vanilla. There are other discrepancies, so I’m guessing the author just forgot the salt, maybe assuming that you always put salt in a sweet bread. The vanilla is my own must-have ingredient. Then she lists shortening in the ingredients, but calls it butter in the instructions. Which is it? Could you use either one? Probably, but I use butter. Butter gives the bread a nice flavor without being oily, but if you like the feel and texture of a quick bread made with oil, I think you could use half butter and half oil.

Quick Banana Bread

  • Servings: 2 4x8 inch loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from “Quick Banana Bread,” Angels and Friends Favorite Recipes cookbook, submitted by Mrs. Nicholas Masters

Preheat oven to 350°

Grease and flour two 4″ x 8″ loaf pans

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or seeds from a vanilla bean

2 ripe bananas (I used 3 small-medium bananas)

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanillas. Add the mashed bananas and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix well—this makes a fairly stiff dough. Stir in nuts. Divide into two pans and bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes, checking to see that the edges do not burn.

For such small loaves, and because I am sure to allow my oven to fully preheat, I did not use the toothpick test. I just relied on the appearance of doneness of the edges and the familiar center crack on the top. I think I have made this recipe using one large loaf pan instead of two small ones, but you do need to test the center in that case. I like the smaller ones better for overall texture. I used those disposable (well, I did wash them to re-use a few more times) foil pans, set on a baking sheet.