Banana Almond Bread

I know why you’re here.

You’re here because you’re on a quest for the holy grail of banana breads.

Banana Almond Bread overhead

I had no reason to try this particular recipe. I already had a go-to banana almond bread recipe that was pretty fabulous. And I could have spent the rest of my life completely content with that version. But I’ve done enough baking to know that no matter how perfect you think a particular recipe is, you can always be proven wrong with something even better. Which is why I’m constantly trying new recipes.

I kind of enjoy being proven wrong about my go-to recipes. It makes me feel like a treasure-hoarding troll who suddenly stumbles upon a vast cave of wonders to add to the collection. It means I’m that much closer to baked-goods perfection. Of course, I’m not so audacious to assume I’ll never find a better banana bread than this. But good heavens, I’ve been around the block, and this one is as moist and soft and flavorful and close to perfect as my little brain can fathom. Check back in ten years, though, okay?

Banana Almond Bread in slices

Banana Almond Bread

adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

2 large eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1-1/4 cup mashed banana (3-4 very ripe, large bananas)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

2-2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

1/2 cup sliced almonds, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and oil. Blend in the mashed banana, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk together.

In a small mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix quickly but thoroughly, then gently stir in the sour cream, mixing until just combined.

Pour the batter into a well-greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top. Bake the bread for about 1 hour, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. If the bread begins to brown too quickly, tent it with foil after 45 minutes in the oven.

When the bread tests done, remove it from the oven and place on a rack for 15 minutes; after 15 minutes, remove the bread from its pan and place on the rack to finish cooling. Slice when it has cooled completely.