My grandmother used to make the best banana bread I’ve ever tasted, and I think of it every time I use this recipe. She would hang bunches of bananas in her rarely-used dining room until they were practically falling out of their skins before whipping up the most delicious and gooey batches of banana loaves.
I’ve never quite managed to make my banana bread as tasty and gooey as hers. As well as not having the foresight to write her recipe down, I also think it comes down to holding my nerve in leaving the bananas for a few days more to get truly black and well beyond ripe. I don’t have a spare room in my house to leave the offending bananas, and the smell makes my husband & daughter gag whenever they walk past. However, even with a couple of days past ripe and a few speckles, it’s still pretty special.
The addition of the Nutella came more recently. The banana bread came about much like any other – to use up the ripe bananas in my fruit bowl. I spotted the Nutella as I was reaching for the baking powder, and have never looked back 🙂
I wanted the Nutella to be almost marbled through the loaf rather than mixed in completely, which would make it more Nutella flavoured than swirled. To achieve this, I spooned 1/3 of the banana batter into the loaf tin, then spooned four generous teaspoons of Nutella on top:
I then used a skewer to swirl it around and distribute the Nutella goodness (you could also use the end of a knife):
I then repeated this process with another third of the mixture, then again, finishing with a swirl on top ready for baking.
The end result was everything I love in a banana bread, taken to a whole new level!
It is AMAZING hot from the oven, but is also one of those recipes which gets better on standing – around 2 days after baking it will reach its squidgy peak – if it’s still around then.
Banana bread with Nutella swirl
- 2 large/3 medium over-ripe bananas, roughly mashed
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 175g sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp milk
- Around 100g Nutella
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan.
- Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth
- Add the mashed bananas and eggs, and beat through
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir through until no flour can be seen. The mixture will still be lumpy – this is how it should be!
- Spoon 1/3 of the mixture into the loaf tin. Add a few dollops of Nutella and swirl though with a skewer, or the end of a knife
- Repeat this process twice more until you finish with a final Nutella swirl layer on top of your loaf
- Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for around one hour, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out free of raw banana batter . If the top of the loaf starts to catch towards the end of the baking time, cover with foil and continue to bake until thoroughly cooked through
- Remove from the oven, leave to stand for a few minutes, then turn out to a cooling rack, gently peeling away the baking parchment
This recipe is so versatile, and there are countless alternatives to adding the Nutella. Some of my favourites are:
- 150g blueberries, tossed in a coating of flour and stirred though the mixture after the flour has been incorporated. Set a few blueberries aside to place on top of the loaf before it goes into the oven for a pretty finish
- 200g of milk, dark or white chocolate chips (or a mixture of all 3!)
- Replace 25g of the flour with cocoa powder and use 2 tbsp of thick natural yogurt for a moist chocolatey loaf
- Add 100g of chopped walnuts or pecans plus 1/2 a teaspoon of mixed spice to the batter and stir though before baking
- Stir through 125g of raisins and a teaspoon of cinnamon into the batter, then top the loaf with a sprinking of brown sugar and an extra dusting of cinnamon before it goes in the oven
Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible