Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Banana bread

Banana bread has always been a popular recipe search, but it’s had a bit of a moment throughout the pandemic as people are baking more, seeking out the comforts of their childhoods and paying more attention to reducing waste. 

Save that banana skin from the compost bin

This banana bread has a secret ingredient. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Banana bread has always been a popular recipe search, but it's had a bit of a moment throughout the pandemic as people are baking more, seeking out the comforts of their childhoods and paying more attention to reducing waste. 

As a parent, I've had banana bread in heavy rotation for the past 16 years or so. I toss overripe bananas into the freezer whole, and then pull them out to thaw in a bowl when it's time to bake. (If I'm in a hurry, I cover them with warm water to help them thaw more quickly.) 

This past weekend I came across a recipe in The Guardian for a banana cake using only the peels — intriguing. Though anyone who has left a banana peel in the car and come back hours later knows there's plenty of aroma left in the peel.

We talked about it on Tuesday's Calgary Eyeopener and I made a loaf by tossing the entire banana in, skin and all, and pureeing it with the sugar, egg and melted butter (or vegetable oil) before stirring in the dry ingredients. The result: a very tasty banana bread that likely got a fibre boost from the peel, and much less left over to toss into the compost bin. 

This recipe calls for two large or three medium overripe bananas, preferably organic. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

All-in Banana Bread (with appeal)

If you have this banana bread in mind, pick up organic bananas at the grocery store. And if you plan to include the peel, wash them before tossing into the freezer.

  • 2 large or 3 medium overripe bananas, preferably organic, washed well, frozen and thawed
  • 1 packed cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (or chopped chocolate)
  • demerara or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Thaw your bananas in a bowl. If you need to speed things up, cover them with warm water and they'll thaw quickly.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. 

Cut the stem ends off the bananas and cut them into chunks. I like doing this with scissors directly over the bowl of the food processor, slicing them in.

Put the brown sugar, butter or oil, egg and vanilla into the food processor as well and pulse until well blended and relatively smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl. Don't worry if there are some black flecks of skin in it. 

This recipe makes about 10 slices of fibre-rich banana bread. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

Scrape into a bowl and add the flour, cinnamon (if you're using it), baking soda and salt. Stir a few strokes, then add the walnuts or pecans and stir just until combined. Scrape into a parchment-lined or greased 4x8-inch loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with demerara or turbinado sugar, if you like. 

Bake for about an hour, or until golden, domed and springy to the touch. Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then take it out and cool on a wire rack, if you have one.

Makes: 1 loaf, and about 10 slices.


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