Quest for the Best Banana Bread – Sprinkled to Perfection

This past weekend we made a trip to our old home in Minnesota. It was our first trip back since we moved and it came with some mixed emotions. I knew it was going to be hard to see our old house. We have so many memories there – three years of little Mr. N, many great friends, weekend adventures, tons of wildlife and of course, bringing home baby Miss A. It was very hard for me to leave the very first place I truly felt at home as an adult with my new family. (Not to mention my old kitchen – gosh, do I miss that room. ;)

That said it is a beautiful part of the world and my sadness didn’t last long. It was quickly ushered out when we saw a buck standing outside our old house, hiked to the top of a bluff with our good friends, enjoyed a play date with Mr. N’s old friends at our favorite park, watched a bald eagle soaring overhead as we kayaked, and ate several meals at our favorite sandwich place.

While there we also had the pleasure of having dinner with some old friends – in fact, the very first friends we met after we moved to Minnesota. You may remember I’ve mentioned Doree before – she is the reason this quest for the best banana bread began in the first place. We’re planning to wrap up our quest and do our side-by-side taste test around the New Year. This is another recipe that we’ll be throwing in the mix and it comes to us from Laura at Manna & Quail. Thanks Laura!

Per usual, Miss A was on-hand to help with the banana bread. I think she could make this in her sleep now. I know I could! We started by doing something new this time though, Miss A added a 1/4 cup of cinnamon and sugar to the bottom of our greased loaf pan.

Next we combined melted butter with sugar and then tossed in the eggs and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl we combined the flour, baking soda and additional cinnamon.

In another new twist for us, we chopped the bananas into small pieces, instead of mashing them.

Next we mixed together the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients, mixed in some sour cream and added the bananas.

Miss A then mixed everything together and we poured it into our cinnamon-y loaf pan.

We baked the bread for an hour at 350F – and wow, did it smell good!

As soon as I cut into the bread I knew it was going to be a hit. The cinnamon sugar from the pan gave the bread a crispy little crust that was just delightful.

Everyone commented on the crust. Both Mr. N and Miss A devoured their slices and instantly wanted more. This version didn’t last long around our house. Fortunately, I did get a piece saved in the freezer for our final taste test down the road.

I can’t say if this banana bread is better than Doree’s or not. We’ll just have to wait and see, but it’s certainly on the short list. So here’s to Winona, to first friends, great friends, outdoor adventures, sweet treats and to homes and memories that forever become a part of who we are.

See this recipe: Cinnamon Banana Bread

37 comments on “Quest for the Best Banana Bread – Sprinkled to Perfection

  1. Laura says:

    I’m glad you tried the banana bread! I got the recipe from allrecipes and it’s been a good one. I’m looking forward to finding out what the ultimate banana bread recipe is so I can try it too! Beautiful pictures :)

    • Kristy says:

      I’m glad you posted this one…we all just loved the cinnamon sugar crust on this. I have a feeling whatever recipe ends up winning the challenge, the cinnamon crust will soon be a regular part to it. :)

  2. spicegirlfla says:

    Kristy, I so know how you feel about your first family home. I just returned from a weekend in Ohio where first I was born and raised but also where I was married and had my children. Family, friends and the comforting surroundings just tugged at my heart. I’m thinking now I need some comfort food and this bread sure does look comforting!!! Love how you described the crust and the photos look so tempting!!

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Linda. I’m glad I’m not alone. It was definitely a bittersweet trip, but also cathartic in a lot of ways. I’m glad we went and I look forward to getting back there again. And I did the same thing – chowed on some comfort food the night we got home. ;)

  3. I love your banana bread posts! I can never make the same recipe twice, I have to change it up. But I like how you save a slice for the final taste test show down! That’s is brilliant and I am looking forward to that post!

    Your trip back home sounded like a good time. The scenery is beautiful and it’s always great to reconnect with old friends. Glad you guys had a great time!

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Lisa! We’re having a lot of fun with our banana breads. It’s always so much fun to make and we all enjoy eating it. We’re really looking forward to the ultimate taste test too. :) We definitely had a great time back home. :) It was cathartic in so many ways.

  4. […] Back to the pancakes. Over a month ago Kristy from Eat play love posted a wonderful recipe for peach and ricotta pancakes that I knew at once I had to make. Eat play love is one of my favorite blogs that chronicles the journey of  a family with a passion for food and good travel. I love following their cooking trips around the world and their quest for the perfect banana bread recipe. […]

  5. thesanties says:

    Kristy — I love this idea! Banana bread is serious business. I still haven’t found my perfect recipe, but this one looks to die for! I will definitely be trying this one soon. Can’t wait to see the other recipes and how they all compare!

  6. eftychia says:

    Perfect with a cup of tea! I usually have my children helping me too!

    • Kristy says:

      Do they get in on the cake making too? There are some recipes the kids love helping with, and others they have little interest in. The banana bread recipes always seem to generate lots of interest from the kids though. :)

  7. Those are some stunning pictures!
    I love the idea of chopping the banana and that cinnamon crust sounds heavenly!

  8. rsmacaalay says:

    Wow that is a very nice view up there, the colours of autumn starts to show up. BTW what a great classic banana bread recipe, I loved that you did not mash the bananas so you can taste bits an pieces of it on every bite

    • Kristy says:

      This is the first time we didn’t mash the bananas and it was definitely fun to get little banana bites in the bread. :) And yes, the views are incredible up there, and autumn is my favorite.

  9. Eva Taylor says:

    I always thought I would really miss our second house, but I really didn’t. New memories are made, new friendships forged. Photos are beautifuland this banana bread looks delicious! I love the cinnamon sugar.

    • Kristy says:

      I think the visit to our old home was cathartic for me. I think I needed a little bit of closure. :) Even if this banana bread doesn’t win the overall contest (we’ll know soon), I know we’ll make it again. Or at least add the cinnamon crust to the winning version. :)

  10. TasteFood says:

    I am always looking for new ways to bake banana bread. Thank you!

  11. I want that crust…sounds phenomenal!! I made a banana bread with some spiced pecans and it was really good… I might share it! :)

  12. ChgoJohn says:

    There will always be room for another good banana bread recipe. I don’t make it nearly as much as I would like. I have absolutely no will-power when there’s a loaf in the house and it just seems to disappear. But it has been a while since I baked one. Hmmm …

  13. What a beautiful area. I can’t wait for the final showdown.

  14. The top crust on that banana bread looks perfect-o!

  15. Stunning photos. I can appreciate how bittersweet it was to return home. This banana bread is certainly something different and wonderful. I have never considered chopping the bananas instead of mashing them. I do think this deserves a try soon.

    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Geni! I think once our quest is over, I’ll probably alternate chopped vs. mashed in our banana breads to mix things up every now and then. :)

  16. Kelly says:

    What beautiful photos of your trip home. It’s so hard leaving the place we start our families in, isn’t it… Such precious memories and tender emotions. Nice that you were able to connect with some old friends and visit some of your favourite haunts. The crust of this banana bread sounds sooo delicious – love the idea of a crispy top with cinnamony flavour. And, you know I’m a big fan of nuts in banana bread – yeah!! Before you wrap up your quest, I’d love it if you did a whole grain experiment – I’ll get a recipe off to you shortly for your consideration :) (I won’t be able to experiment until my grain challenge is done in another week though – lol – so bear with me). Miss A looks like an expert!

    • Kristy says:

      I would love that Kelly! I’m clueless when it comes to experimenting with whole grains. I’m just not familiar enough with them. So I’d love to try what you come up with. :) We’re going to do the final taste test around the New Year. And yes – it’s so hard to leave the places we start our families. I know this new house will be “home” soon. Especially with all of the new memories we’re making. But that first house will always hold a special place. :)

  17. I adore making banana bread, it’s so much fun! I posted up what I consider to be the best recipe I’ve ever used a while ago. I might make it again. They are fantastic with chunks of dark chocolate.

  18. You and Miss A look like baking geniuses. And you know what? She probably does know how to make banana bread in her sleep and that’s a great thing. When she gets older, she won’t starve as my mom would say about us learning to cook lol. Wonderful job.

  19. i always seem to have problems with baking banana bread (which is why i do cakes instead). the inside never gets done right and the outside gets charred. i will have to try your recipe

    • Kristy says:

      I think this is our 8th recipe (or so) on here for banana bread. The key to the baking is a low temp and a long time. :) At the end of the year we’re going to do a side-by-side taste test of all the banana bread recipes we have (about 15 of them) and pick our favorite. :)

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