Sam & Lily’s favorite banana bread: this one is loaded with finely ground hazelnuts and bursts a beautiful cracked chocolate hazelnut topping.
Our Favorite Banana Bread
There’s a reason I don’t often do ‘basic recipes’ on this site: mostly, the really good ones already exist! I doubt you can improve upon Ina’s Lemon Loaf Cake, or KAF’s carrot cake, or Stella Park’s White Cake. And banana bread? That was perfected a long time ago in Boston by Flour Bakery whose recipe is probably the most highly rated ever. The first time I made it I followed the recipe to a T, whisked, and poured the batter into the pan. An hour later I had the most perfect banana bread I’d ever made. If you want classic banana bread, that’s the one to make.
But the way I’ve been making it over the past year is a little different than the original; mostly because I bake it with Lily who a. Has been home for over a year and knows that when bananas go brown this is a project she can be included in, b. Always requests some chocolate (and I don’t like choc chips in my bb!), and b. doesn’t like nuts in her desserts (and I love them).
So this is a recipe I’ve made probably 6 times in the past 3 months; and it’s a composite of both of our likes: it’s got nuts, but they are ground, it’s got chocolate, but in the form of a spread that goes on top, and it’s one bowl really easy recipe. I bake mine in a pullman loaf because they are slightly longer/larger and I have less trouble with baking the center (plus I get more even slices!).
Substitutions for Hazelnut Banana Bread
Canola Oil: Any kind of flavorless oil will do. I have also found olive oil works, if that’s to your taste.
Sour Cream: You can use greek yogurt or labneh instead.
Hazelnuts: You can use any nut you like, it just needs to be finely ground. For a nut free version, well, make Joanna Chang’s!
Nutella: Let’s talk about how you can make your own (below!)
Homemade ‘nutella’ chocolate hazelnut butter
This is another little project Lily and I have been doing together over the past year. She loves nutella and I do not (too oily, too sweet, don’t want her to eat too much of it) so we’ve been making our own based on this chocolate pistachio butter recipe. Here’s how to do it:
- 1 cup hazelnuts, raw
- ⅓ cup dutch process cocoa
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 and spread the nuts on a cookie sheet. Toast for 10 minutes, until they are fragrant (careful not to burn them). While they are still hot, rub them between paper towels to remove some of the skin.
Place the nuts into a food processor and grind them on high for 10-15 minutes, scraping as needed. They will become a thick glob at first but as you keep grinding it will turn liquid. Keep going until it won’t get any smoother. Add the cocoa, sugar, salt, vanilla and process. If it’s very thick, add a tablespoon of canola oil. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Hazelnut Banana Bread Recipe
Note: If you wanted to make this with some cocoa for a full chocolate hazelnut banana bread version: reduce the flour to 1 cup (125g) and add 1/3 cup dutch process cocoa (35g).
Hazelnut Banana Bread
- standard size loaf pan, 8 or 9" long
- 3 large bananas very ripe (300g)
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar 180g
- ½ cup canola oil 100g
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sour cream 60g
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour sprinkled into the cup and leveled (157g)
- ⅔ heaped cup toasted hazelnuts finely ground (90g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2-3 tablespoons chocolate hazelnut spread if desired
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
- Smash the bananas with a fork. Stir them with the salt, cinnamon, sugar, oil, vanilla, sour cream and eggs.
- Whisk in the flour, hazelnuts and baking soda. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Warm the chocolate hazelnut spread in the microwave and drop it in spoonfuls onto the batter. With an offset spatula, swirl it in.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.