banana bread

whisky banana bread

banana bread

If you have any black, spotty overripe bananas in the fruit bowl, you have to make this. Even the most feral bananas, minutes away from going in the compost, are transformed. 

I love this banana bread recipe. It's delicious, indulgent, low in sugar (though you'd never know to taste it) and - best of all - made with the minimum of equipment! Gemma Burgess got me on to the original Smitten Kitchen recipe and I've Phil-ified it a bit over the years to make it as low-fuss as possible. 

It doesn't matter how many bananas you use - I've even just used one, and it was great. Bear in the mind the more bananas you use, the wetter your mixture will be, so if you use 4 bananas, you might need to add a dash more flour to balance things out.

And the shot of whisky? Essential. It's the perfect use for that tiny bottle you got on the aeroplane. A whisky with sweeter notes is what you want here though - something too peaty and smoky like Laphroaig might not work! Alternatively, you can use rum - the darker the better. 

You can of course leave the alcohol out if you're avoiding it or don't like the taste - but the end product may not have the rich depths that the whisky provides. I must admit, I've never tried it without! 

Whisky banana bread

Based on Smitten Kitchen's recipe

2-4 ripe bananas, peeled and broken into chunks
Splash of almond milk (or regular milk)
75g unsalted butter
75-100g brown sugar (I usually use the 75g, depending on how many bananas I have)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 shot (30ml) of whisky (I like Highland Park for this recipe - anything with a toffee-sweet finish)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (or mixed spice)
A little freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
190g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 190 C (350 F). Line a loaf tin with baking paper or a special loaf wrapper like I've used in the picture (you can get them from supermarkets in the baking section). 

Puree the bananas and splash of almond milk together with a hand blender (or in an actual blender) and set aside. Alternatively, smash the bananas thoroughly with a fork if you don't have a blender.

In a large saucepan (which will also be your mixing bowl), melt the butter over a low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add the pureed bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla and whisky. Mix until well combined.

Add the baking soda, salt, spices and, finally, the flour to the saucepan. Mix well but do not overbeat. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. My oven is quite hot so I usually check it after 30 minutes. 

Allow to cool and then slice to serve. It's perfect any time of day with tea, coffee....maybe even whisky too. It also freezes well in individual slices if you want to put it in the freezer, away from temptation!

This recipe is so good I sometimes buy a few bananas and deliberately let them get overripe in the bowl, just so I can make this. I'm sure once you've tried it, you'll do the same.