Mrs. Ruby Tips Banana Bread
The internet brings the world into our homes and one day it whisked Mrs. Ruby Tips into my life. Who is she? Well, according to her bio on mrsrubytips.com she is the widow of a French trained chef. Back in England they operated a food establishment but since Dick’s departure to the hereafter, Ruby made her way to America and has developed a website “aimed to bring the fun back into cooking”. She considered herself a “seasoned sexagenarian and self-taught chef who cooks with passion and a dash of humor. My motto? When life gives me lemons, I bake a lovely lemon tart. Unless vodka and sugar are close at hand, then I’ll opt for a lemon drop.” Get the gist? As Ruby says, “Good Mood, Good Food.” We chatted with Ruby about her banana bread and what makes it special. We like the inclusion of sour cream. Do try the panini!
Dédé Wilson: Ruby, you bring enthusiasm to all of your cooking and baking and anyone who encourages home bakers to get busy is a friend of ours! Did you know that banana bread is the #1 searched for recipe? Why do you think banana bread is so popular?
Mrs. Ruby Tips: Truth be told honeysuckle, Auntie Ruby does not know what’s popular on the Tin-ter-net. I’ve had a fondness for banana bread from a young age. It’s cozy and comforting year round. In fact, I’ve always believed banana bread is as popular as Oprah and gets along with nearly everyone.
We like to mash our bananas just like you do. Puréeing them too thoroughly doesn’t leave pockets of banana moistness! You add sour cream, which adds even more moistness and richness; does that 2 tablespoons of sour cream really make a difference?
Yes, I really don’t like to add too much sour cream but think adding it does makes a difference to the recipe. I encourage my extended family on Facebook to play around with the amount they want to add. To me, to find the right blend is as magical as a first kiss. You never want too much but enough to leave you wanting more.
Does your banana bread freeze well?
Yes, after the bread has cooled, I like to slice it into single serving potions before freezing. To freeze the bread, I wrap it in plastic wrap, then with foil and place it in a sealable bag. When I’m ready to take it out of the freezer, I simply pop the bread into the microwave for 20-30 seconds and serve.
Tell us more about the panini (seen above)! It’s drool worthy…
When Auntie Ruby was a few years younger, I read that Elvis Presley loved to eat peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. Back in my heyday, I created a version in hopes that dreamboat would pop over for a visit. I’ve swapped out peanut butter for Nutella. Sometimes I use Dulce de Leche for my Argentinian friends. It makes their lips curl up like Mick Jagger’s after a single bite.
Any other tips for those making your banana bread?
A few things I have tested in my humble kitchen:
- Instead of using granulated sugar, brown sugar complements the bananas like a hat complements a scarf.
- Toasted walnuts lend a pleasant and pleasing crunch.
- If you sprinkle granulated sugar over the top of the loaf, it will caramelize while baking and offer a delightfully crisp crunch to the top.
- If you wish to deepen the banana flavor, place your bananas in a microwave safe bowl and microwave them for a few minutes. Strain the juice into a saucepan over a simmer, reducing the juice by 50% and add to batter.
- My banana bread is best when the loaf is fresh, but it can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and stored for up to three days.
Ruby! Thank you so much. This is a banana bread worth being in our repertoire.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour (210 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 4½ bananas, very ripened
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- PREHEAT oven to 350°F and adjust oven rack to middle position.
- GREASE a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- SIFT together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- WHISK sugars, eggs, and butter in a large bowl or beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
- MASH bananas with a potato masher or fork and add to sugar mixture. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Fold in reserved dry ingredients and nuts.
- POUR batter into greased loaf pan. Slice remaining banana diagonally into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place banana slices along the top center of the loaf and sprinkle granulated sugar evenly on top.
- BAKE for 45 minutes to an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Using regular yellow bananas will result in bland-tasting bread. I only use ripened, speckled bananas. Over-ripened bananas help the starch turn into fructose, adding a delightful sweetness.
- Always preheat the oven before baking and make sure your oven temperature is correct. I always allow 15 minutes for this. If you put your banana bread into the oven while it is still heating, instead of expanding and growing, the batter will melt and you’ll end up with a dense banana brick.
- You’ll notice I’ve included grams as an alternative for measuring flour. When I first moved to America, I tried using cup measurements and I found that when I spooned flour into a measuring cup it never matched up to the flour I weighed by grams using a scale. Weighing ingredients is by far the most accurate, but not commonly practiced in the U.S. If you’d like to give it a try, buy an inexpensive digital scale for best baking measurements.
- Toast your nuts to enhance the flavor of the bread. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350oF until fragrant and golden brown.
- Happy Elvis: Smear a generous amount of your favorite peanut butter across a piece of sliced banana bread. Top the bread with a piece of sliced, cooked bacon, place it under the broiler, and toast until nicely browned (about 2 minutes).
- Nutella Panini: Brush a grill pan with a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Spread 1 tablespoon Nutella on a slice of banana bread. Top with a few sliced bananas and sandwich with another slice of banana bread. Grill 1 1/2 minutes per side and serve.