Donut shaped banana bread.
No clue why I didn’t think of this sooner.
I recently tweaked one of my favorite recipes from America’s Test Kitchen (subscribe it’s amazing!)
I tested multiple pans to see which worked best: A full loaf, mini loaves, bite-sized circular shapes, mini domed shapes, and even donut shapes. All were good. Obvi.
Why make this Recipe?
It’s amazing. And your house will smell better than all other houses when these are baking.
- Ths recipe is messy & slimy. But honestly, that makes me like it more.
- You will need to make condensed banana syrup! (You take 5 overripe bananas, freeze them overnight, microwave them to release their liquid, boil the liquid then cool it and add it to the batter. More details below, but it’s a somewhat long process. Totally worth it though, and you can use this method in any recipes that call for bananas moving forward.)
- You also annoyingly need to have 1-2 additional fresh ripe bananas for the topping. Banana-ripening-timing-wise that means two trips to the store for Bananas. Boo.
The good news?
After perfecting this recipe, you’ll never be upset again about your bananas going brown. You may even look forward to it!
And stockpiling 20 brown bananas in the freezer makes for very interesting party conversation when someone goes to grab some ice.
Best Banana Bread
The recipe yields 1 loaf pan, or 9 mini loaves, which feeds 9 people or 4 hungry people.
- 6 bananas total: 1 fresh but ripe banana + 5 overly-ripe frozen bananas
- If you are opting to make mini loaves- you also need 1 more fresh ripe banana
- 1 & 3/4 Cup Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Blackstrap Molasses
- 1 stick of American butter, or 1/2 stick Australian butter (because Australian butter is made for giants apparently.)
- 1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract (DIY Vanilla extract tutorial coming soon!)
- 2 Eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 up to 1 full cup of pecans, or zero pecans, depending on your nut situation
- 2 more tablespoons of sugar
- An Oven.
- A Microwave.
- Measuring Cups (1, 1/4, & 1 teaspoon if you have them.)
- Pan of your choice: Loaf Pan (8 1/2″ X 4 1/2″), Mini Loaf Pan (9 minis to a tray), or a Donut Shaped Pan. See this article for an image of the donut pan.
- A Big Mixing Bowl.
- A large Glass Bowl. I prefer pyrex.
- Saran Wrap.
- A Whisk. My favorite whisk is from Oxo – it’s flat so easier to clean.
- A Spatula.
- A small to medium Stovetop Pan (for boiling the banana liquid into syrup).
- A mixing Big Bowl.
Wait for your Bananas to ripen, then, Freeze them
- Wait for 5 bananas to ripen to the point of being completely dark brown.
- Put the 5 overripe bananas in the freezer, easiest to be done overnight.
- They will look like this.
I know… but what’s happening is the banana’s sugar content is increasing and it is becoming easier to liquefy the bananas into a syrup. I promise you it will taste good. But yes, they look gross at this point.
Microwave Bananas to extract liquid for the banana Syrup
- Put 5 frozen bananas into the glass bowl, and cover with saran wrap. (You may need to trim the banana stems off so they fit in your microwave.)
- Poke holes in the top of the saran wrap so air can escape.
- If you are like me and put the bananas in the freezer with the peel on (like in the photo above) then you will need to microwave the bananas on high for 2 mins in order to peel them, then, after peeling off their cold slimy skins, put them back in the microwave for another 4 mins.
If you were smarter than me and pre-peeled your bananas prior to freezing, simply microwave them for a full 5 mins straight on high with plastic wrap cover. (Be careful with this option as sometimes the liquid bubbles over out of the glass container.)
Make Syrup from the liquid banana juice
- To make the syrup, strain all the liquid juice that has accumulated from microwaving it (saving the solids in the glass bowl- don’t throw that away!).
- Put all the liquid into the saucepan, and simmer gently until it’s about a half-size reduction – about 5 minutes. (Warning: This can boil over if your heat is too aggressive. Be gentle.)
- While waiting for the syrup to reduce, now preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C.
- Put the stick of butter in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, until it begins to liquefy. Add it to the glass bowl with the leftover banana pulp.
- Add 3/4 Cup Sugar, 1 tablespoon of molasses, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the warm banana pulp and melted butter. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Once the 5 minutes is up, remove the syrup from the stovetop. It kind of looks scummy and lumpy, not like a nice syrup, in case you are worrying you did it wrong. You didn’t. It just looks gross.
- Dump the syrup into the glass container. Let cool another 5 minutes or so.
While syrup is cooling, Mix dry Ingredients
- Measure 1 & 3/4 Cups Flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking soda in the large bowl.
- Whisk together. (Easy!)
Finish making the batter
- Now that the liquid ingredients are just warm and not boiling hot, add 2 eggs and mix.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with 6-7 strokes of a whisk. DO NOT OVERSTIR. It’s OK if it’s a bit lumpy.
Add the toppings
- If making a single loaf, put all the batter into the loaf pan.
- If using pecans, embed the whole pecans down the side of the loaf, lining it on both sides. Maybe I will draw a pic of this part because it’s confusing to explain. Just like… poke it down the sides on both sides.
- Then, take the 1 ripe banana, slice it (I will add a pic for this too) and place the slices down both sides of the loaf pan. You don’t want bananas in the center of the pan because it will block the batter from rising.
- Now that you have bananas on top, sprinkle the entire top of the loaf of the with 2 tablespoons of sugar. This will caramelize when baking. YUM!
- If you are making minis, follow these same steps, but you may need one more banana for the tops given the increased surface area of pan siding.
Bake that bread
- Pop this in your preheated oven and put the timer on before you forget!
- 60 minutes for a full loaf.
- About 30 minutes for mini loaves.
- 20-25 minutes for donut shapes.
- Remove them from the oven, let them cool 15 minutes before removing them from the pan, then frost them if you opt for donuts.
- Say ‘Ta-Da!’
- Share with friends.
Try it out and let me know what you think!
XO, and happy crafting!