The Banana Bread Mystery

Cristina in NYC circa 1973

Cristina and daughter in New York City, circa 1973

New York City, 1973. Cristina, Carlos, and their newborn daughter huddle together on the couch at their small apartment on Hudson and 12th West. Sitting across from them, a German man who has been backpacking across the United States and is now staying at their place for a few days tells them about an amazing banana bread he recently tried: a lady who hosted him before coming to New York made it for him. It was so good, he asked for the recipe. Cristina makes the treat. She says this is the best banana bread ever. Period.

The thing is, though, nobody knows where the original recipe comes from.

I’m hoping someone will help me track it down.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

IMG_4450

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3)
  • 1/4 cup milk, buttermilk, or yogurt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Mash bananas with milk.
  5. Add banana mixture to butter and flour.
  6. Bake at 350 for 50 min.

Do you know this recipe? Did your mother, aunt, sister, granny, anyone pass this recipe along to a nice German guy in the early 70s?

If so, let me know.

But, as much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think that is the best banana bread ever. Sorry, Cristina. I made it last weekend, and while there was nothing wrong with it, it just didn’t taste amazing to me.

So, I present you with the best banana bread I have ever tasted.

The credit goes to Starbucks. This is their recipe. It’s easy to make, and it’s absolutely delicious. Try it; you won’t be disappointed.

Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread

Banana bread starbucks

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe medium-large bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts*
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (in addition to 1/2 cup)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan and dust with flour.
  2. Blend the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. Mix the egg, sugar, and vegetable oil until combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and when blended, add the buttermilk, vanilla, and mashed bananas; mix well.
  5. Fold 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Top the batter with remaining 1/3 cup of walnuts.
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

*I often forgo the walnuts and buttermilk, as I seldom keep those items around. The result is always amazing, nonetheless.

So, will you have a banana bread face off? Can you already tell which one of the two is better? Do you know where Cristina’s whole wheat banana bread recipe comes from?

Can you help me solve the mystery? Send an email, or leave a comment below.

7 thoughts on “The Banana Bread Mystery

  1. Cristina says:

    Jordan,
    I love it but, (there is always a but) I have a few comments.
    The Carlos on the picture wasn’t my husband, as a matter of fact he was my first argentine gay friend although it took him a few more years to own it.
    And our apartment was a “floor thru” meaning the whole floor, front to back, rather a large apartment, did I describe it wrong?
    In regards of the recipe, Its my fault that I I didn’t explain it in detail because I’ve done so many time I only need to review the amount of the ingredients to do it but there are some important details to add.
    First, it should say “unsalted” butter, not the salted one
    Second, the bananas need to be so ripe that you wouldn’t eat them, blackened skin and very soft
    Third, when mixing dry and wet ingredients, needs to be in an alternated fashion: flour, banana, butter mixture, flour, banana, etc., etc.,
    Forth, chopped walnuts was an option but I deleted that detail because I wanted it without although it’s very delicious with walnuts as well
    The one you posted is done with white flour and I think it makes a difference, it’s okay but I still prefer mine, if done right!!!!!
    Además, sobre gusto no hay nada escrito!
    Cristina

    Like

  2. Luisa says:

    I don’t bake but I can certainly appreciate a good banana bread… If you need volunteers for the blind tasting of this banana bread face off, count me in!

    Like

  3. Andrea says:

    I have to agree with Cristina, it sounds like you made a couple of mistakes while following her recipe. I propose you give it another try following her instructions and bring it to the office so we can judge how good it is 🙂

    Like

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