There are a handful of things we always keep on standby in our home. A plant-based milk, dry pasta, tomato sauce, garlic, onion, and bananas. Lots of them. Bananas are my absolute favorite fruit. I eat one every morning, usually in smoothie form and on days when I sleep in a little too much, as a grab and go breakfast. I wait till they’re extra ripe before freezing for smoothies or baking with. A few days after the skin goes spotted, finding them just perfect at the time when most everyone who comes over looks a bit *disgusted* at them as they sit out on the counter.
The longer the banana has to ripen, the more the fruit’s sugar develops making for a way sweeter though admittedly mushier banana (which is why I only use them like this when the texture isn’t important). Have you ever tried eating an unripe banana with a little tinge of green on the peel? It’s bad and just thinking of the flavor makes me cringe.
This banana bread recipe from Posie Harwood popped up on my Twitter feed via Food52 some time back. I’d added it to my long list of things to bake, sitting next to vanilla cake, etc. and mentally stored it away for the time being. The moment was finally right for this star to take center stage the second my Mom started worrying about who was going to eat all the bananas before they got too ripe and I decided to spend the afternoon at home from feeling under the weather.
On Oahu, my Mom buys apple bananas from the farmers market in Downtown. They taste exactly how they sound. Sweeter but missing that full banana-y taste, which is replaced by a subtle apple flavor. I used one regular banana and three apple bananas (which are usually smaller than regular bananas). The batter was thicker and stickier than a regular banana bread but was super super moist (most likely from the cream cheese and greek yogurt). I imagine if making the recipe with four medium-sized bananas, the banana flavor will be much stronger and the bread even more moist.
Admittedly, in middle of nursing a cold, I couldn’t taste the banana bread too well. But my Mom and Dad loved it. As well as my two friends, Sophia and Steph, who commented on how interesting the texture was with the millet. As with most quickbreads, the flavor and moistness improved on the second day. And after the millet had a bit of time to soften/soak up moisture it seemed to meld much more with the overall texture of the bread.
When I first offered my Dad a piece he complained the one I cut him was too big. As I was photographing the rest of the loaf, he came into the room a few minutes later and asked for another slice. I asked him to wait till I was done taking photos. You can see him reaching for another slice in the first photo up top… On a scale of 1 to Trader Joe’s Cornbread (my Dad’s FAVORITE breakfast item) this banana bread came in at a very close second, which is really saying something since there’s been times I’ve flown home with half my suitcase filled with that dang cornbread.
This recipe gets an A+++ in my book. Though mostly because of how much my family enjoyed it. That’s what always matters the most when sharing and enjoying food!
Food52’s Cream Cheese Banana Bread
Recipe from Posie Harwood via Food52. Makes 2 loaves.
Note: The greek yogurt in this recipe can be entirely substituted for creme fraiche or a mixture of both can be used.
3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) granulated white sugar
3/4 cup (5 5/8 oz.) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 oz. full-fat greek yogurt (or creme fraiche)
4 medium bananas, mashed
3 cups (12 3/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup uncooked millet (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two loaf pans and set aside.
2. Add the melted butter, white, and brown sugars to a bowl. Whisk well to combine.
3. Add the eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and salt. Whisk again.
4. Add the cream cheese, greek yogurt, and/or creme fraiche. Whisk well. If there are still lumps of cream cheese in the batter, transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on high for a few minutes until the lumps completely disappear or are tiny. The batter will also lighten in color.
5. Add in the mashed bananas and mix well again.
6. Add in the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix with the paddle attachment, a spatula, or wooden spoon until the batter just comes together. Add in the millet if using and stir a few more times to incorporate. Posie also recommends adding chopped toasted nuts, chocolate chips, or even coconut if not using millet.
7. Divide the batter evenly among the two pans. Bake for about 1 hour until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let bread cool before removing from the pans and slicing.