Each week on Food52, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast — because breakfast isn’t just the most important meal of the day. It’s also the most awesome.
Today: Caffeine, meet banana.
I believe there may be a law of Nature that states that whenever you have a serious banana bread craving, you will not have any super-ripe bananas, and any bananas to be found in the grocery store will be in shades of green varying from grass green to pea green and not one will be even remotely brown-speckled. So you will buy them underripe and set them on your counter, and then just as they are about to turn nice and ripe and spotty, your husband will eat them with peanut butter because you have been so focused on baking banana bread that you haven’t stocked the house with anything to eat for lunch. Cruel, cruel Nature.
Suffice it to say, I have been craving banana bread for a long time, and have been failing to bake banana bread for an equally long time. Until finally, today, I defied Nature’s laws and had the craving, the bananas, and the time to make banana bread — all at once. Actually, I didn’t really have the time, but I baked anyway. Carpe banana!
There are many, many banana bread recipes out there, including some pretty sublime ones, so perhaps the world doesn’t need another recipe for banana bread. But, perhaps it does. I choose to believe the latter. You see, ever since I rediscovered my old high school flame, The Jumpin’ Monkey (a.k.a. a coffee-banana smoothie), I have been convinced that coffee and banana are a pairing that is, if not timeless, at least worth revisiting frequently. And so, I have been wanting to make an espresso-spiked banana bread.
Now that I have, I can say definitively that it is a great thing, and I may never go back to non-caffeinated banana bread. The warm, roasty espresso flavor becomes smooth and melodious against the sweetness of the banana. This would be a particularly good banana bread to stir a cup of chocolate chips into. But, of course, the laws of Nature state that, when you finally are able to bake banana bread and it is one where chocolate would make an exceptionally good addition, you will not have chocolate chips around. So, I enjoyed it plain.
Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf
3 very ripe large bananas (1 1/2 cups), mashed well
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sour cream, or crème fraîche, or Greek yogurt
2 ounces shot of espresso (or absurdly strong coffee)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules (optional)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or melted, unsalted butter)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (whole wheat pastry flour would also work well)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9X5-inch loaf pan. In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir the mashed bananas together with the egg, sour cream, espresso, and vanilla extract, until everything is well combined. Stir in the instant espresso granules (you can omit these if you want, but if you use only brewed espresso, the bread will have a very subtle coffee flavor — adding instant espresso as well pumps up the coffee flavor. I think it’s good both ways.)
- Next, stir in the melted oil/butter until it is completely incorporated. Follow this by stirring in the sugar until everything is well mixed.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Dump this mixture into the wet ingredients and stir just until there are no dry streaks left. The batter will still be lumpy. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the oven until a tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean, about one hour.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the loaf pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge of the bread and turn it out of the pan. Finish cooling the bread on a cooling rack. I think the flavor of banana bread gets better if you let it sit for a while, but who can help themselves from having at least one piece while it’s still warm, right? But, it’ll be even better on day two! Accompanied by espresso! Because espresso is good.
Photos by Emily Vikre
This article originally appeared on Food52.com: Espresso Banana Bread