so, i have a confession. i'm a little obsessed with banana bread. this is, in large part, due to the fact that i love having bananas around at all times, because they're such a fast, healthy, and easy-to-transport snack. but, of course, they also tend to ripen really quickly (especially in the heat of the summer) and inevitably, every time i buy bananas, i end up with a bunch of overripe ones. and i'm not a huge smoothie person (shocking, i know, now that those are such a big thing, but there it is). so, banana bread it is!
but loving banana bread doesn't mean i never want to stray from the classic recipe. once you have a good recipe, banana bread is the perfect vehicle for experimentation and a great base for playing with both sweet and savory flavors. matcha (aka green tea powder) is used in all sorts of asian desserts, and has a slight, natural sweetness that's totally divine when paired with extra-sweet, miniature bananas (i happen to prefer using these in my bread over the regular variety, when i can find them). the black sesame seeds and almonds in the crumble look gorgeous on top, but they also give this bread a really nice earthy, toasty flavor that keeps it from tasting overly sugary. and since it's not overloaded with sugar, this treat works as well for breakfast or a snack as it does for a light dessert. a win-win-win!
(makes one loaf)
for the banana bread:
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅔ cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon matcha powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
10-12 mini bananas, very ripe, mashed with a fork (about 1 cup total)
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the black sesame-almond crumble:
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
2 teaspoons flour
¼ cup chopped almonds
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into very small pieces
how to do it:
- preheat your oven to 350°f. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper and/or spray with nonstick cooking spray (i like to do both, because if you leave a little overhand, the parchment just makes it easier to remove the bread from the pan after baking. but that's just me. you do you, booboo).
- in a small mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, matcha powder, and salt. in a separate bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs with a whisk attachment at medium speed for about 8-10 minutes, or until lightened in color and smooth and creamy. Slowly drizzle in the oil while continuing to whisk slowly.
- change the mixer attachment to standard beaters or a paddle, then add the sour cream, vanilla, and mashed bananas and mix to combine. add the flour mixture, half at a time, and beat between additions, just until barely incorporated (there may still be a few lumps in the batter, and that's just fine). if you want to be completely sure you don't overmix the batter (a definite no-no), then fold the dry ingredients in with a rubber spatula instead of using the electric mixer.
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. in a small bowl, mix the sesame seeds, flour, almonds, and sugars and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the batter. dot the crumble topping with tiny pieces of butter, placing dabs evenly across the surface.
- bake banana bread for 50-60 minutes at 350°f, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.