dominique ansel’s banana bread

ansel banana bread

As you may have heard, the great Dominique Ansel recently released the recipe for his infamous cronuts. The recipe takes three days, four rises, a deep fryer, and something called a “butter block”. Oh, and let’s not forget to make the glaze and the flavored sugar.

While I may never eat (and will more likely never make) a cronut, what I was more interested in was his much simpler, more approachable recipe for the great and humble banana bread. Because the one thing everyone needs is yet another banana bread recipe, right?

I mean, it’s not like I don’t already have not one but two recipes for banana bread right here on this very site, but I was intrigued. I mean, how amazing can banana bread really be?

I became even more intrigued as I continued reading the recipe… no vanilla, no brown sugar, not even a hint of cinnamon. Clearly this was some sort of trick. Would Mr. Eats even eat a quickbread that wasn’t covered in streusel? I wasn’t sure…

I fought off my urge to tinker with every fiber of my being… No, Natalie, we aren’t adding vanilla. Or brown sugar. That “dash of cinnamon” is definitely off the table – If the great Dominique Ansel doesn’t need it, then neither do I gosh darnit!

ansel banan bread 2

After I congratulated myself on completing a recipe from start to finish by actually following the directions and not tinkering with a single ingredient… I tossed it in the oven and prepared myself for disappointment. I was ready to laugh and scoff and bring Chef Ansel down a peg.

Well color me wrong because this stuff is like banana gold. It turns out, apparently, that you don’t actually need any vanilla, or streusel, or cinnamon. All you need is bananas, flour, sugar, eggs and love. And lots of butter. You’ll definitely be needing that butter. And an over-sized loaf pan (my puny 8 by 5 would not do. Luckily I found some old larger loaf pan that, judging from the looks of it, I can only assume came from my mom or possibly a bomb shelter.

The loaf baked up with an incredibly light and tender crumb on the inside and a delightfully crisp exterior. I was a bit lazy about the banana-mashing so I still had a few chunks of banana, but i like it that way.

It is pure banana essence baked into loaf form and more than anything else – it is addictive.

Score one for Chef Ansel. I’m so sorry I ever doubted you.

ansel bread 4

Since I assumed that his cookbook would be full of cronuts and other complex things that frankly I get tired just thinking about… I had already decided that I wasn’t going to purchase it. However, now that I realize that there could be more gems in there like this banana bread,  I should probably just pre-order it now.

dominique ansel’s banana bread


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10" x 5" x 3 ½" loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and whisk in mashed bananas.
  4. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold the mixture until the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Add the melted butter to the flour and banana mixture, and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to complete cooling.


This recipe was found on Tasting Table

cinnamon smile bread

cinnamon swirl bread DSC_0404


Because it’s Sunday.

And Sundays are for baking.  And for breakfast.

And for eating something sweet and calling it breakfast.  Because, why not?

cinnamon swirl bread DSC_0422

Especially when it smiles at you.  Doesn’t your day feel better already?

Sundays are for cinnamon and sugar and not waking up at 5 am to let dough rise and cut and fold cinnamon rolls.

Sundays are for easy recipes that you can make in your pajamas.

And for recipes that prepare you for Monday.

cinnamon swirl bread DSC_0424

Because Mondays are evil, and can only be improved with some leftover cinnamon bread.  With a smile built in.

If you’re feeling extra generous, you could even make an extra loaf and take it to work to comfort your co-workers, too.

Cinnamon Smile Bread

Makes 1 9-by-5 inch loaf

Printable Recipe

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 large egg

  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda

  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

2.  In a small bowl, combine ⅓ cup granulated sugar with the cinnamon, brown sugar, and cocoa powder; set aside. .

3.  Melt butter in a large microwave-safe bowl, about 1 minute; set aside to cool.  Once butter is cooled, whisk in the egg, ⅓ cup brown sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.  Whisk in buttermilk until incorporated.

4.  Add the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, optional salt, and gently fold ingredients until just combined.  Be careful not to overmix, the batter will still be thick and lumpy.

5.  Pour half the batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Sprinkle three-fourths of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the batter, the top with remaining half of the batter.  Smoothe the top with a spatula and sprinkle remaining ¼ of cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top.

6.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.  Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.

*Bread will keep at room temperature wrapped tightly for up to 5 days.  You can also freeze the loaf (whole or sliced) for up to 3 months.

[ Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks ]

chocolate chip pumpkin bread

pumpkin bread 2

I’ve been (and will be traveling) lately, so I apologize if my posts become a little less frequent (and a little less wordy, too). I just got back from my very first trip to Mesa Verde National Park last week, and then tomorrow, Mommy and I are heading to Ohio. So yes, I will be a very busy little bee for the next couple weeks – eating my way around Ohio while visiting my friends and family. Possibly not having so much time to cook, bake, or post. But we’ll see how that all pans out.

I love going back east in the fall. Living in the desert requires giving up certain things in life… One of those things, ladies and gentlemen, is seasons. While I can’t say I really miss having to walk through the blistering winds and snow of winter, or the torrential downpours of spring and summer, Autumn is one thing I definitely miss.

It was always my favorite season – colorful leaves, brisk air, (occasional) sunny days, apple orchards and pumpkin patches…. We don’t get any of that here. Sad, right? So all the years I spent wanting nothing more than to get out of Ohio, this is the time of year that makes me really wish I hadn’t left. Of course this winter, I will be laughing at all my friends shoveling the snow off of their cars while I get to wear short sleeves and cook out on the grill. 🙂

Of all the things that remind me of fall, few things say ‘fall’ quite like pumpkin.  I can hardly wait for October to roll around every year for the simple fact that I adore pumpkin. Adore. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones… who decided that pumpkin is only reserved for the fall? Something as delicious as pumpkin deserves to be enjoyed year-round. What is it in us that gives food seasons? Summer is for berries, winter I think of cinnamon, but autumn… that’s 110% pumpkin (maybe a little bit of apple, too, I guess).

This recipe is perfect. I’m not exaggerating. It’s the last pumpkin bread recipe you will ever need. Really. It yields a bread with a moist, tender crumb, a delightful pumpkin flavor, a hint of spice, and of course a little chocolate. I mean, a little chocolate never hurt anyone, right?  Try not to gnaw your arm off while the baking bread fills your house with the sweet aroma of fall and your tummy starts to rumble.

Pumpkin Bread  – Makes 2 – 9 x 5 inch loaves

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 3 ¼ cups AP flour
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 15 oz can (1 ¾ cup) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup veg oil
  • 3 cups sugar (You can easily cut back by at least a half cup)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree and oil until combined. Add sugar and whisk again. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla and water. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients being careful not to over-mix.
  4. Divide batter evenly between pans and bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 ½ hours.
  5. Cool the bread in its pan 15 minutes, then invert loaves onto wire rack and cool completely.

*Loaves will keep 3 days at room temperature, or much longer frozen for your future pumpkin needs

*You can also bake them into muffins – just reduce the baking time. It’s been so long since I’ve done the muffins, I would recommend checking them after about 20 minutes and then seeing where it goes from there.

[ Adapted from Baked ]

banana bread

banana bread

Autumn is almost upon us… Although it doesn’t technically start until the 23rd, the stores are already filled with Halloween treats, pumpkin sweets, and even Thanksgiving decorations. I can’t believe it. Where did the year go? It was January like five seconds ago… So despite the triple-digit temperatures, the stores have been tricking me into thinking it’s time to break out my fall recipes, but I just don’t feel right making something so “fall-y” when it’s still in the 90’s and 100’s out. My solution? Banana bread. It’s not quite as fall-y as pumpkin, but not too “summery” either. Yes, foods have seasons. Stop looking at me like I’m a crazy person.

Even though I already have my “go to” banana bread recipe, I just had to try this recipe when I saw it. Possibly because I had two pounds of cream cheese in the fridge and a bunch of over-ripe bananas on the counter that I needed to do SOMETHING with… it’s like it was meant to be. The downfall being that banana bread is something that I have not yet mastered photographing. It always turns out either way overexposed or severely underexposed… It’s a perfect storm of lack of skill, experience, and equipment that causes the pictures to come out less than perfect. Trust me, though, this is a recipe you want to try.

The bread doesn’t come out so “in-your-face” banana-y, and is light with a tender crumb. Also, though I tweaked the recipe a bit (who makes banana bread without a bit of cinnamon in it?), it’s not nearly as over-the-top as my usual recipe is. The texture reminds of that of the strawberry cream cheese bread I made earlier this summer. I think I will use these cream cheese batter as a base for a variety of future quickbreads.

BF had the day off, so I took it into my work instead of sending it to work with him. It disappeared in under an hour, so I’m not the only one who thought it was really good. This recipe makes 2 loaves, so make one for yourself, and one for a friend (or work). Or you could just freeze the extra loaf for a future banana bread-related emergency. 🙂

Cream Cheese Banana Bread

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the bread:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking power
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 8 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 3 – 4 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F, and prepare two standard loaf pans

2. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together mashed bananas and vanilla.

3. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until combined. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just blended.

5. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing on low. Stir in banana mixture, be careful not to over-mix.

6. Pour into prepared pans and make your topping.

7. FOR THE TOPPING: combine all ingredients in a small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over both loaves.

8. Bake in middle of oven for 1 hour, or until it passes the toothpick test (poke a toothpick into the center of the loaf – it should come out clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it). Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to complete cooling.


* To avoid over-mixing, you can stir the flour in instead of beating it in. Using a paddle attachment and a stand mixer will also help to avoid overbeating (vs. a whisk attachment/hand mixer)

* If your streusel is browning too quickly, tent the bread with aluminum foil.

* You can add nuts, chocolate chips, or cinnamon chips for a more “decadent” version (to make up for the calories you saved by using low-fat cream cheese) 🙂

[ Adapted from Bake or Break ]


banana rama bread

Today is a glorious, magical day – Today is the day our brand new kitchen arrived.

It’s amazing that just yesterday we were at IKEA picking out cabinets and less than 24 hours later it arrived at our door. Of course, we’ve still got a long way to go, we have to assemble all of the new cabinets, rip out the old ones, and I’m sure the kitchen will be out of commission for some time once that starts… I did ask BF to try to maintain a functional kitchen space for as long as possible before the old kitchen get demolished.

current kitchen


Either way it’s going to limit the recipes I am able to make… no kitchen means no way to wash dishes and no place to prep. So in thinking about all these difficulties, I thought it’d be a great time to post on of the easiest recipes ever – banana bread. This requires only one (or two)  bowl(s), and you don’t even need to break out the mixer!

I’m super excited about the kitchen – although I fear I will fall behind on baking with no kitchen available… Although it’s probably for the best, since I will probably be too busy to gym as well…

Banana Bread – Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Printer-Friendly Version

  • 4 mashed bananas
  • 1/3 C melted butter
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp bourbon (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Tiny pinch ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 C AP flour
  • Optional additions: Chocolate chips, streusel topping

Preheat oven to 350F; Grease 1 loaf pan and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (sprinkling optional)

1. In medium bowl whisk together AP flour with salt and spices. Set aside

2. In large bowl mix mashed banana and melted butter with spoon. Stir in sugar, egg, vanilla, and bourbon.

3. Stir in flour mixture in 2 additions being careful not to over-mix. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

*If you want to keep this a “one-bowl” recipe, start with mixing the banana & butter, then sugar, egg, vanilla, (bourbon, if using). After that, stir in the spices, then sprinkle baking soda and salt over top, and lastly stir in the flour (followed by chocolate chips, if using).

Cinnamon Streusel Topping

Boyfriend loves streusel, so I try to add it whenever possible to my baked goods. Here’s a simple recipe to make streusel to top anything you desire…

  • 4 Tbs flour
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs cold butter

Mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon together, cut in cold butter. Sprinkle on top of banana bread batter prior to baking,

*Make sure you let the bread cool 100% before covering with foil, or it will turn the streusel from crunch to soft.

*If you need more, you can double (triple, quadruple) the recipe as needed. 

*Extra streusel can be frozen and used as needed straight from the freezer

*It also makes great muffins!