Bananas go exceptionally well with spirits, particularly with rum and bourbon. Bananas foster is a great example of a decadent – and delicious – dessert that combines bananas with a bit of booze, but it’s not the only recipe out there for those of you who, like me, enjoy doing some baking with spirits. This Bourbon Banana Bread uses a very generous dose of bourbon whiskey in it, making a delicious loaf that is a nice change of pace from the usual banana bread recipe.
Aside from the bourbon, this banana bread recipe isn’t all that different from most banana breads. It uses both white and brown sugar, for a rich sweetness, and plenty of mashed banana. I added a touch of vanilla because it complements the bourbon, highlighting the vanilla notes that the whiskey picks up as it ages in oak barrels. I did not, however, add any spices to the banana bread. Cinnamon, cloves and other spices would only hide the bourbon and I wanted it to stand out as much as possible here. The bread calls for a fairly generous dose of bourbon. You’re not going to catch a buzz from this loaf, as the majority of the alcohol is still going to bake off in the oven, however. You need to be generous to ensure that you can taste the bourbon in the finished bread. Some recipes I’ve seen only call for a tablespoon or two and, while that may introduce a bit of complexity to the loaf, it’s not going to give you the bourbon flavor that you’ll find in this one.
The banana bread is moist and tender, with a very soft and even crumb. It slices beautifully and can stand up to a generous smear of butter or cream cheese (if you don’t just want to eat it plain, which I typically do). Banana is the dominant flavor, followed by rich bourbon and vanilla. The bourbon brings in just the right amount of flavor without making it seem like you need to save this loaf for happy hour. The mashed banana helps keep the bread moist, so it can be stored in an airtight container and enjoyed for several days after baking. Leftover slices can also be frozen for longer-term storage and reheated in the microwave.
Bourbon Banana Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium bananas (about 1 cup, mashed)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup bourbon
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, mash the banana. Add in vegetable oil, sugars, egg and vanilla extract and whisk until well-combined. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the bourbon. Stir in the remaining flour mixture and mix only until no streaks of dry ingredients are visible. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top of the bread springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow loaf to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 1 loaf.