Sunday, October 21, 2018

Ruth Reichl's Banana Bread

Black bananas sitting on the counter. No room for any more in the freezer. Couldn't bear to throw them out. Forgotten. Sad. They had great plans to be split down the middle, dolloped with vanilla yogurt, and drizzled with a handful of colorful berries for a beautiful and healthy breakfast that never happened. Instead, they sit staring at me, reminding me of all the things I planned to do and couldn't.

Busy weeks. Busy weekends. Run every single second of the day from the first crack of dawn til everyone's in bed. Decide something has to give. Realize nothing can. Instead, get even more thrown on your plate. Wake up and repeat. Maybe even throw on your camo shirt. After all, each day is starting to feel as if you're going to war.

I didn't have time to enjoy my breakfast banana splits last week. However, I did remedy that by making Ruth's Banana Bread because I sure as hell have time to grab a bag with a slice of banana bread in it and eat it in the car.

Banana bread should win a prize for versatility. Plain or with nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter, dried fruit, coconut. Bourbon banana bread. Cream cheese banana bread. Banana bread with a chocolate glaze. Banana bread with a maple glaze. The possibilities are endless an usually all delicious. I have tried several variations over the years.

However, I must say that my all-time favorite banana bread is just the regular old-fashioned loaf. No fussy add-in's or adornments. This loaf fits that bill. What's different about this recipe is that it's made with buttermilk, which we all know produces a very tender and dare I say it...moist loaf. I had never made banana bread with buttermilk before and I must say I liked the result! I think you would too!

Is this my all-time favorite banana bread recipe? I'd have to say no but only based on personal preference. My all-time favorite banana bread recipe belongs to Tessa Kiros and you can find that recipe HERE. The reason I love Tessa's Banana Bread is that she uses a hefty dose of brown sugar (1 full cup to Ruth's 3/4 cup) and I'm incredibly partial to brown sugar for both it's aroma and flavor. Tessa's recipe also uses 3 to 4 bananas, whereas Ruth's only uses 2 bananas, and while I appreciate the subtleness of Ruth's Banana Bread, I found I like a more pronounced banana flavor. Additionally, Tessa's recipe includes cinnamon and cardamom, which add a lovely degree of warmth to the bread. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I do love Ruth's recipe and anyone would be more than happy to eat a slice, or two. I just feel a responsibility to compare and contrast and share my own personal preferences, especially since I've posted several banana bread recipes to my site.

Inspired by Ruth's short but sweet writing in My Kitchen Year I could sum up this post by saying this short quote:

"Black bananas. Forgotten and sad. Shortage of time. Feeling defeat.
Camo shirt. Hair in a bun. Banana Bread."

I've always been long-winded. That ends now.

Banana Bread 
Adapted from My Kitchen Year
by Ruth Reichl
Serves 6-8

2 very ripe bananas
3/4 cup buttermilk
8 tablespoons butter
3/4 brown sugar
1/2 sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325F. Cream the butter and sugars together in a medium-sized bowl with a mixer. Beat in the eggs.

Mash the bananas and squash them into the butter mixture, along with the vanilla. 

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and add it into the butter/banana mixture, alternating with the buttermilk (you can also use yogurt).

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for about an hour.


  1. Sounds like life is really busy for you. I have made many a banana bread and I knew this one would not blow my socks off. I will have to look into Tessa's recipe. I am partial to banana and chocolate and Smitten Kitchen has a quite good marbled banana bread.

  2. Okay well you've certainly convinced me to make the Tessa Kiros recipe!! I love a hefty dose of spice in my banana bread too.

  3. Lovely pose. To the point. Quick read. Inspiration to make all flavors of banana bread.


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