The recipe isn’t that different, really, from a classic banana bread, the kind that your mother or aunt or best friend’s mother or whoever used to make. But it’s an exceptionally delicate, tender take on the theme, with honey and cinnamon stirred into the batter to make it more interesting and - for the clincher - a generous layer of cinnamon sugar on top, which forms a craggly sort of crust as it bakes. I think it’s my new favorite. In concept, it’s not entirely unlike this recipe, only where that one is chewy and bread-like and bordering on hearty, this one is daintier and more balanced, closer to cake. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you can’t eat it for breakfast, because you can. (Brandon can vouch for that.) It does mean, however, that it’s especially well-suited to the afternoon - to after-nap time, for example, on a weekend in late August. Of course, there’s only one of those left, so if I were you, I might go ahead and preheat the oven now.
Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping Adapted from Bakesale Betty and Bon Appétit, September 2008
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 ½ Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9- x 5-inch metal loaf pan. (Alternatively, you can spray the pan lightly with cooking spray and then line it with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the sides. That’s what I did, and it made it very easy to remove the finished bread from the pan; I just grabbed the parchment and lifted. Also, because I don’t have a 9- x 5-inch pan - and because an 8 ½- x 4 ½-inch is a little too small - I used a 10- x 3-inch pan that I found once at a flea market.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, eggs, oil, honey, and water. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle them evenly over the batter.
Bake the bread until a tester inserted into its center comes out clean, about 1 hour, give or take a little. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then carefully remove the bread from the pan, taking care not to dislodge the topping. Cool completely before slicing.
Yield: 1 loaf
tags: vegetarian, pareve