Blueberry Banana Brown Sugar Bread

A couple weeks ago, I bought bananas with a very important mission: baking them into some sort of delicious bread. I picked out a couple bunches at Trader Joe’s and let them sit on the counter to brown. A bit impatiently, I will add- I really wanted to bake! At long last, the bananas looked delightfully mushy and ready to go. And so off I went down the rabbit hole of banana-laden recipes.

20160131_154454This is the recipe that won. Some banana breads turns out dense, or flavorless, or boring… and this bread is none of those things. It’s a wonderfully satisfying bread, with lots of texture thanks to the combo of mashed bananas and Greek yogurt. Two types of brown sugar give it a subtle sweetness, but it isn’t overtly sweet- it’s more of a molasses-y effect. It uses frozen berries rather than fresh, and they plump up nicely during baking so that you get a juicy bite whenever you happen upon a berry. This recipe is simple to make, too. No fancy equipment, 1 single bowl. The original recipe also includes a a blueberry butter to slather on top of the bread. I didn’t do that part- but it sure does sound yummy.

As I made this bread, I realized it demonstrated some good pointers about baking habits, so I’m going to call them out below. For starters- pay attention to the size of your pan. The original recipe says this yields 2 8×4 loaves. But I only had bigger pans. I knew I could use them, as long as I watched how much batter I poured in, and kept an eye on baking since it would likely take longer. I ended up making 1 9×4 loaf and then throwing the leftover batter into muffin tins since I didn’t have a 2nd loaf pan that seemed like it’d be a good fit for the amount of batter sitting on my counter.

I was going to share a few slices with my boyfriend and then bring the rest to work, but that plan was vehemently vetoed. So the bread remained at home with us and my coworkers got the “overflow” muffins- plus the other banana baked goods I’d made in my quest for the ultimate banana treat!

Blueberry Banana Brown Sugar Bread 

Original recipe: Averie CooksI’ve added more instructions and commentary to the original recipe. 

Yield: 1 9×4 loaf + 6 muffins (the original recipe says the yield is two 8×4 loaf pans) 

Suggested equipment: None! 

Total Time: ~1 hr 15 minutes (will depend on how long your bread needs to bake)

Cook Time: ~55 minutes (My loaf pan was bigger so it took longer than the initial recipe suggested. The muffins cooked much quicker so make sure to check them ~15 minutes in) 

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg (I always set mine out a bit before I bake so it hits room temp)
  • 6 ounces plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (Averie says you could also use sour cream; I used plain Greek yogurt, full fat) 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil OR coconut oil OR canola oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (this means you make sure the entire cup is filled) 
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (I used 3 medium bananas) 
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • About 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (No need to thaw. You should eyeball the amount as you mix in the berries and make sure it doesn’t look like too many berries per your batter) 

Step by Step Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F
  2. Line your loaf pans or muffin tins
  3. Combine egg, yogurt, oil, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl
  4. Whisk the ingredients to fully combine them together
  5. Mash your bananas- I do this with a fork, in a small bowl
  6. Add bananas to the egg mixture, and stir to incorporate the banana. It will look sort of lumpy at this point
  7. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to your mixture
  8. Fold all the ingredients with a spatula or spoon. Make sure to occasionally “flip” the batter on the bottom to the top to check if your dry ingredients are well-incorporated into the batter. Sometimes, dry ingredients pile at the bottom and you won’t realize it until you start to pour the batter into the pan- so it’s important to fold the bottom to the top throughout your mixing. Just don’t overmix!
  9. Turn batter into prepared pans, smoothing loaf tops with a spatula and pushing it into corners to fill the pan if you need to. If you’re making muffins, fill the cups about 2/3 of the way full to allow space for the muffins to expand as they bake
  10. Original recipe suggests baking the loaf 40-45 minutes but this will definitely depend on your pan- so start keeping an eye on it around the 40 minute mark. My loaf took 55 minutes and I had to tent it with foil at the end so the top wouldn’t burn while the middle kept setting (this is a good trick for loaves when you’re waiting on the middle to bake). If you’re making muffins, start checking around 15 minutes to see if they’re starting to brown on top. Regardless of what form you’re baking, you can check doneness by sticking a toothpick in the middle. It should come out clean when the bread is done
  11. Averie says the bread will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Of course, as always…. I didn’t test this out. Nothing ever lasts that long around here! I do think it tasted even better on Day 2, though, when the flavors melded together even more.
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