Up until this past week, I thought I had already identified banana bread nirvana. I was wrong. If you know me at all, that three-word phrase is not one you’ve heard me use with any regularity, if ever. Well, at least I’m honest. I had been moving through my life thinking, incorrectly, that my tried and true banana bread recipe was the cat’s meow, the be-all end-all of banana breads, when in fact it was Pastry Chef Pam, from Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, who had the queen of banana bread recipes in her recipe box. We had a batch of mighty squirrely bananas attracting fruit flies in our fruit basket and rather than putting on my comfy old shoes, I decided to go with a new pair. I’m mighty glad I did. I toast you Chef Pam and your outrageously good loaf. I crown you Queen of Banana Breads.
Mountain Sky Banana Bread (two loaves)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, or cubed margarine, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups ripe bananas, mashed
- 8-oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two loaf pans.
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together butter (or margarine) and sugar. Once it is creamy, add the vanilla and the lemon juice. Add the eggs, one at a time. When I have quality ingredients at stake – I always break my eggs in a separate bowl first before I add them to the batter. Every once in a while you’ll come upon a bad egg (ain’t it the truth?) and you don’t want to discover it AFTER you dump it into $6 bucks worth of butter and flour. Before is better.
With the stand mixer running add in the bananas, and cream cheese. In a separate medium-sized bowl whisk together the salt, flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Once you have the dry ingredients blended add them to the rest of the batter in three additions. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50-55 minutes until a tester stuck in the middle of each loaf comes out clean. Cool in pans for ten minutes. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. I know PAM says to cool the banana bread on a wire rack – but since I’m the blogger I have power of the pen. I say – EAT the bread immediately. I’m telling you, few things in life are better than HOT banana bread straight out of the oven. In my house only one of the loaves survives to see a second day. The other one is hoovered by whoever happens to be in a ¼ mile radius of the kitchen within 5 minutes of it appearing on the scene. If your bread lasts a bit longer, you have much more restraint at your home than we do at ours.