I try to avoid buying produce at Trader Joe’s because I’ve noticed it goes bad really quickly. And when you’re cooking for one person, you really need produce to last more than a couple days.
One notable exception: bananas. Yes, they also go bad pretty quickly. But an overripe banana isn’t waste: it’s a baking opportunity. So now I buy TJ’s bananas planning to bake with whatever goes super brown.
This time, it was Pumpkin Banana Bread. This bread is incredibly flavorful with hints of both banana and pumpkin pie spice. It’s also super moist, because pumpkin and banana are both texture boosters. You add a nice crumble on top, and get a layered bread that’s the ultimate breakfast booster. Or afternoon booster. Or whenever else you like to eat your treats….no judgement here.
Pumpkin Banana Bread
Original recipe: Cookies and Cups. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: 1 9×5 loaf
Total Time: ~2 hours. A lot of that is baking time vs. prep!
Cook Time: ~70 minutes
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own with this recipe)
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (can sub in light if it’s all you’ve got)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Make your bread
- Preheat your oven to 300F
- In a large bowl, mix your sugar and oil
- Add the eggs and vanilla, then mix until it’s all smooth
- Add your mashed banana, pumpkin, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice. Stir until it’s combined. I used a wooden spoon for this step
- Fold in your flour. Mix so you can’t see any traces of flour, then stop—you don’t want to overmix!
- Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray, then line it with parchment. I tend to leave extra parchment hanging over the sides so it’s easier to remove the bread from the pan. It still might be sort of hard, but this makes it easier!
- Pour batter into the pan
Make your crumble and bake the bread
- Grab a medium bowl, and add your butter, brown sugar, flour and pumpkin pie spice
- Use a fork or your hands to mix the ingredients together. You want to mix until a coarse crumb forms. I found it much easier with my hands!
- Sprinkle your topping over the loaf batter
- Bake for 65-85 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Don’t assume the bread is done just because the topping starts to brown—it might still be undercooked in the center. If you need to bake the bread longer and you’re worried about burning the top, use a foil “tent” to cover the top.
- Put the pan on a cooling rack, and leave it there for 20 minutes. Then, remove the bread from the pan, and put it on a wire rack to finish cooling
This bread kept well. I think it tasted even better on day 2, and still tasted great on day 3!
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.
This 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 Cooks. I’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)
- 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
- Pre-heat your oven to 350F
- Line your loaf pans or muffin tins
- Combine egg, yogurt, oil, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl
- Whisk the ingredients to fully combine them together
- Mash your bananas- I do this with a fork, in a small bowl
- Add bananas to the egg mixture, and stir to incorporate the banana. It will look sort of lumpy at this point
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to your mixture
- 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!
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Prepping to bake
This is how I measured my yogurt. If you don’t own a kitchen scale, I highly recommend getting one!
Getting the egg mixture going
Whisking things together
Time for bananas!
This is why you have to “flip” through the batter as you mix in the dry ingredients… dry ingredients tend to hide under the bottom
Adding in the berries
Ready to bake! You’ll see my pan is pretty deep
Extra batter went into muffins
Cooling off for a bit