Bourbon Banana Bread

Is it the crooked crack along the top of banana bread that leads us to call this bread? The absence of frosting? The loaf pan? Everything else about banana bread tells me it’s cake.

And this one has bourbon in it. That’s for cake, not bread, right?

I just had cake for breakfast.

Would you like some, too?

Start with disturbingly ripe bananas.  Letting your bananas sit out and blacken to this point means two things – fruit flies and really good banana bread. A freckled banana will work well, but a completely overripe banana will give you a much better, more tender loaf. You’ve gotta take the good with the bad.

This banana bread is best when you leave some chunks in your mashed banana so that you get a couple of soft, sweet bites of banana in a slice. The crust is a bit crisp with sugar, and the rest is subtly spiced and tender.

Get fresh nutmeg instead of the stuff that’s already ground. It smells unbelievable, and it was a revelation after using ground nutmeg, which seems to be something completely different.

I always add walnuts to my banana bread. Always. They go so well together, and banana bread can be boring without the crunch and flavor of walnuts. But we didn’t have any around this time, and this banana bread was still as good as I remembered. We wrapped individual slices in plastic, meaning to share.

You can imagine how that plan worked out. Sorry, friends.

bourbon banana bread

Use the ripest, almost-bad bananas you can find, and you’ll be rewarded with very delicious banana bread. I’m talking disturbingly ripe bananas. A bit of bourbon doesn’t hurt either.

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup walnuts or chocolate chunks, chopped (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F.

Use a wooden spoon to mix butter and bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla, bourbon, and spices. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Mix in the flour. Stir in the walnuts or chocolate if using. Pour the batter into a buttered loaf pan.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean from the center. Let the loaf rest in the pan for about five minutes before popping it out to cool on a rack or cutting board. Slice into 1-inch thick slices and serve. Leftovers covered in plastic wrap will keep for a few days.

Makes one loaf. Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen.

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