My husband and I have a running debate in our house about nuts and chocolate. I am of the opinion that nuts do not belong in baked goods. Period. Bring on the chocolate chips though! He, on the other hand, can’t stand chocolate chips—he actually just can’t stand chocolate in general! Weirdo!
Naturally, this makes the banana bread extravaganza a little more complicated in our household. I usually just split the batch and bake it in 2 smaller dishes. That way, I can put his walnuts in half the batter, and I can put my chocolate chips in the other. It’s a win-win that way!
I bake a lot of my banana bread in round baking dishes. I’ve been told this is a little strange, but there is a reason for it! I promise!
When I lived in Ethiopia, I didn’t have any kind of kitchen amenities. No refrigerator, no oven, no toaster—almost none of the things that one would consider “essential” here in the States (it’s amazing how, when push comes to shove, “essentials” are really not as essential as we think they are).
If you hadn’t noticed already, I LOVE to bake! So, what did I do to get my baking fix over those 2+ years? I made myself a make-shift oven that I could put over a fire or kerosene stove (sort of dutch oven style, but a little different). I made the “oven” by purchasing a large, round, cooking pot with a lid. I placed 3 roughly 2-inch rocks in the bottom. Then, I bought a second, round cooking pot that was small enough to slip into the large pot, resting on the stones at the bottom.
I made sure to have a 1-2 inch gap between the sides and bottoms of the 2 pots to allow for sufficient airflow. I would put my baking batter (weather it was bread or cake) into the smaller pan, set it down on the 3 stones, place the lid on the larger pot, and put it over the fire. It was definitely not the most efficient oven in the world, but it worked, and that’s what’s important!
During my time there, I got to teach some of my lady friends how to make banana bread like this. Banana bread isn’t exactly a part of their normal cultural cuisine, so it was fun to be able to share it with them.
And that, my friends, is why I bake round banana bread! It was my only option in Ethiopia, I think it looks nice, and it’s unique. You can bake in whatever dish you want to though! Just keep in mind that the deeper the batter, the longer it will take to bake. This batch fits nicely in an 8″x4″ bread pan and takes pretty close to the full 60 minutes to bake all the way through.
Favorite Banana Bread
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- ½ cup Butter, softened (113 grams)
- ½ cup White Sugar (100 grams)
- 2 Eggs
- 3 medium-large, over-ripe Bananas, mashed (about 1 – 1 ½ cups)
- 2 cups All-purpose Flour (300 grams)
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ – 1 cup Chocolate chips or Walnuts,chopped. (These are optional! I used a ½ cup of chocolate chips for my half of the banana bread and a 1⁄3 cup of walnuts for the Hubby’s half)
- ⅛ – ¼ cup Brown Sugar (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the softened butter and sugar in a bowl, and mix it with a fork or electric mixer. Add the 2 eggs and mix it again.
In a separate bowl, place your bananas, and mash them with a fork. The blacker and riper the better! This makes for really nice, moist banana bread! (*See my tip below about freezing bananas!)
Add the mushed bananas to the wet mixture, and stir it well.
In another bowl, mix your flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add it to the wet ingredients and stir until it’s well combined.
This is the moment to add either your chocolate chips, walnuts, or whatever extra special treat you have in mind. You’ll want to gently fold it in with a spoon.
Pour the batter into a greased baking dish (or 2 in my case)
The final yummy touch before baking is to sprinkle brown sugar on top. You can put however much on that you want. I usually sprinkle between ⅛ – ¼ cup—just enough to add a nice, slightly caramelized layer on top.
Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size and depth of you baking pan. I like to start checking mine around 30-40 minutes. When the sides start to pull away from the edges of the pan and a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center, pull the bread out of the oven and let it sit for a couple of minutes on a cooling rack.
Remove the bread from the baking pan and let it continue cooling. My favorite is to cut into it when it’s still a little warm, slather some butter on it, and eat it with a glass of whole milk. If there is still some left over (not surprisingly, this is rare, lol) make sure to cool it completely before putting it in a Ziplock bag for storage.
*Tip: Sometimes, if I don’t have time to make banana bread when my bananas get too ripe, I stick them in the freezer. This works great too! When you’re ready to make your bread, pull them out of the freezer and let them thaw (they’ll be SUPER mushy!). They will also be more watery, but that’s okay! Don’t dump the water off, just use them as they are. If you’re impatient, like me and don’t plan ahead enough to let the bananas thaw naturally, you can also zap them in the microwave–30-60 seconds should do it.