Lately, I’ve been getting requests for my mother’s banana bread recipe…
It all started when I tweeted that I was craving banana bread. (Did you know I got a Twitter account? Yep. Me and technology are tight… Uh, not!)
Soon after, different responses to that tweet started coming in. One good friend that I haven’t seen in awhile replied and told me his wife has a killer recipe for a Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread, and he linked me to the blog where she found it. Sweet!
Then two other friends I haven’t seen in awhile replied reminiscing about my mom’s banana bread recipe as they remember it from when she was still living. Yep, I remember that banana bread… it was good alright! And both ladies asked if I’d mind sharing. Mind? Of course not!
But… I also had my heart set on trying out the Cinnamon Swirl B-Bread recipe Jason had shared with me from Lovin from the Oven. SO I thought, “Why not just show all you hungry readers both recipes and let YOU decide which one you want to make?” I’ll tell ya right now, its not going to be an easy decision. Both recipes are uniquely and exceptionally yummy! (I’ll wait til the end to tell you which was my favorite.)
So here we go! Which banana bread will satisfy your sweet tooth today? Vicki’s Classic Banana Bread, OR Lovin’ from the Oven’s (aka: Kim’s) jazzed up Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread?
Let’s make them and find out!
For starters, you’ll need over-ripe bananas (each recipe calls for three.) I love buying over-ripe bananas at my local Kroger because they’re super-cheap at .39 cents a pound! (And that’s for the organic bananas, so… BONUS.)
From there, the ingredient lists differ slightly.
Vicki’s Classic version calls for 3 ripe bananas, 1 C. sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 C. melted butter, and 1 1/2 C. flour.
(No vanilla? No cinnamon? I know, I know. But resist the urge… This one’s sacred.)
Kim’s version has a few more bells and whistles… 3 ripe bananas, 1/3 C. melted butter, 3/4 C. sugar, 1 egg (beaten), 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. baking soda, a dash of salt, and 1 1/2 C. flour. It also calls for an extra 1/3 C. sugar, and 1 T. cinnamon. (That’s for the “swirl.”)
My mom’s recipe just says to butter the loaf pan. Kim’s says to butter and flour it. So I followed orders…
And Step 1 in both recipes was to mash up the bananas with a fork! Easy so far!
From here they differ a bit, so we’ll branch off and make the “Vicki’s” recipe first…
Her’s is pretty straight-forward. Add all ingredients to the mashed banana and stir with a fork. (I will point out, however, that this is not just simplicity for simplicity’s sake. The instruction about using a fork should be taken seriously. DON’T use a mixer. You’ll end up with tough finished loaf and it’ll likely collapse when you pull it out of the oven.)
Now, this can just be set aside while we assemble Kim’s version.
For this recipe, you’ll want to mix the wet ingredients with the banana first.
That’s the egg…
and the vanilla.
Once you’ve combined the wet ingredients, the next step is to sprinkle the salt and baking soda over the wet mixture.
Lastly, you add the flour. Mix it into the batter with a fork, taking extra care not to over mix. (The two recipes have this in common, they both state not to over mix.) So if you’re one of those people who ignores your dentist when he tells you to “brush gently and don’t scrub the enamel off your teeth” (cough cough, dad!), then you might want to call in a daughter, a spouse, or a friend to perform this step for you.
Very good. We’ll be chowing down in no time!
Now let’s turn our attention back to the “Vicki’s” recipe for just a moment and pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan.
Now back to the “Kim’s” recipe. For this one, you’ll empty half the batter into the buttered (and floured) loaf pan.
Then you’ll sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar swirl mixture onto the batter.
Finish it up by spreading the rest of the batter evenly over the top…
and sprinkling on the remaining cinnamon and sugar.
And the hard part is done! Now it’s just a waiting game.
Kim’s recipe calls for a 350-degree oven, and my mom’s calls for 325. Since I didn’t feel like baking each loaf separately (and I don’t have two ovens) I compromised and baked them both at 337! Yes, I’m a total weirdo.
Both recipes say to bake the loaf for 50-60 minutes (and from experience I can tell you the Vicki’s recipe takes ALL of that) so I set the timer accordingly and decided to just keep an eye on them
I’m usually pretty preachy about NOT opening your ovens to peek at baked goods. It lets the heat escape! But in this case, I just had to open the door for a quick second to give you a peek… you can see the cinnamon swirl forming and it’s just so exciting!
After about forty minutes I stuck a sheet of aluminum foil on top of these because they were getting a little brown. I baked them for about 55 minutes total and they came out perfect! When I pulled them out of the oven, the smell was intoxicating.
You should definitely let them cool off a bit. It was really hard to wait because I had held off on eating “breakfast” until the bread was done and that meant I didn’t eat breakfast til after two in the afternoon! (I did snack on some pomegranate seeds while waiting though.)
Will you make the old stand-by (loved my so many)?
Or the lovely-looking newcomer?
I’ll tell ya what I think on the subject.
I’d never tried the cinnamon swirl version, so I found it very alluring and tore into it immediately once it was cooled. I couldn’t resist adding just a touch more butter.
And MAN was it good! It was moist, rich, and the topping had a nice crunch. I gobbled up two and a half pieces, and I say this recipe is a definite winner! Not only is it delicious but it makes for a stunning presentation. I’d definitely make it again for perhaps a brunch party or bridal shower.
But (surprising even myself) I was oddly drawn back to my mother’s recipe. I don’t know… maybe its the nostalgia… maybe its the simplicity… but this classic version of banana bread tasted much more “banana-y” to me than the cinnamon version. I think perhaps the strong flavor of cinnamon covers up the banana a bit in the other recipe (and for some, that’s a good thing.) For me, though, I love the wholesome banana goodness that shines through in Vicki’s loaf. I think her version won out (in my opinion) just by a hair.
It was a tough call though. (Almost like comparing apples and oranges, because if you’re craving cinnamon & sugar, then the Kim’s recipe is hands-down the one for you!)
So there you have it… banana bread two ways!
Now go forth and bake And be sure to tell me which bread you liked best!