No matter what you're into, this basic bread has a variation for everyone. After working with a couple variations, this one is my favorite; starting simple, it offers tons of opportunity for customization and to really make this into your own. Personally, I still prefer my banana bread plain and simple - baked up and cut while still warm with a bit of butter. Having tried it though, I also included an oat topping that is also really tasty.
Here's what you need:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 overly ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Here's what you do:
Preheat the oven to 350 and prep a single loaf pan with cooking spray and flour.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
In a separate bowl, preferably in a stand mixer bowl with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, bananas, and vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture, and mix until well blended.
On a low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until combined.
Transfer your batter to the prepped loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the knife test proves clean.
Let the loaf sit in the pan until cool, running a knife along the sides to loosen. I usually leave the loaf in the pan and cut in there; but some bakers prefer to remove the loaf from the pan for fear of scratching the pan.
Oat topping - combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and a 1/4 cup oats. Spread evenly on top on of the batter.
Healthier option - sub in whole wheat flour for up to half of the needed amount. I've tried this, and it's good; but it's just too much wheat for my taste.