There is someone in my house who buys bananas like they are going out of style. I don't understand it. There's no rule that says you must purchase the entire bunch - the grocery store police won't arrest you if you buy AN banana or TWO bananas. Yet the bananas continue to appear. What's a girl to do with all these very ripe bananas?
Banana bread. Duh. But to get specific - this is the best banana bread. I don't want to go too far in calling it ... healthy ... but it's wholesome in all the right ways. Meaning, you won't eat it and think "boy this is healthy" which everyone knows is code for "this tastes like crap but I guess I'm supposed to like it because it's good for me." You wouldn't even need to convince someone to eat it for health benefits. It's delicious on its own merit. It's sweetened by honey and a hint of vanilla, and has a gorgeous crumb that doesn't fall apart when you take a bite. People, banana bread is not cornbread. It should not be crumbly, okay?
I adapted this from a very basic recipe that I had written down on an index card a few years ago. With some tweaks along the way, this recipe has morphed into The Best Banana Bread Ever. It makes two loaves, is easily halved, and even easier MINI-SIZED!!! This time around, it yielded one regular loaf and six mini-loaves (with chocolate chips). Yes, I own 14 mini bread loaf pans. What are you going to do about it, huh?
The Best Banana Bread EVER
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (optional, but why wouldn't you?)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9 x 5 in loaf pans (or 12 mini-loaf pans because they are way cuter and easier to give to friends).
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, combine bananas, vegetable oil, honey, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla extract.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the banana mixture and stir until just combined. (Do not overbeat or the bread will be heavy. This is especially important because of the whole wheat flour and wheat germ - be nice to the gluten!) Stir in the chocolate chips if using. Pour batter into prepared pans.
For two standard loaves, bake 60 minutes. (I know, it sounds like a long time, but start checking for doneness at 45 minutes with a toothpick.) For mini loaves, start checking at 25 minutes. Your house is going to smell SO DANG GOOD.
Cool on wire rack. Enjoy plain or with butter or with cream cheese or with oh crap I am so hungry now.