Moist Pecan Banana Bread with Streusel Topping
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Super ripe bananas and dark brown sugar help to bake up a sweet and MOIST easy banana streusel bread loaf EVERY TIME, no dairy sour cream required!
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Super ripe bananas and dark brown sugar help to bake up a sweet and MOIST easy banana bread loaf EVERY TIME! The addition of a crunchy pecan streusel topping and blaze of glazed banana slices right down the middle of the loaf in this easy Pecan Streusel Banana Bread recipe mesh seamlessly with the moist cake.
I enjoy baking for others, especially around the holidays. Thing is that costs add up quickly when I am making my grocery list for ingredients to purchase.
As much as I adore a good banana bread with sour cream (that’s a link to my other recipe), multiplied by the sheer number of loaves I will bake, that becomes an expensive loaf of banana bread!
But what about a classic banana bread recipe that is also a simple banana bread recipe and an easy MOIST banana bread recipe at that?
I am able to deliver a SPECTACULARLY MOIST and 100% delicious banana bread studded with a crunchy pecan topping in this recipe.
This method for banana bread is so well loved among my family and friends, I am often asked to provide a loaf or three for Brunches and bake sales, NO SOUR CREAM REQUIRED!
So, how many of you reading this experience this scenario…you purchase bananas with every good intention of consuming them during the week. But then plans shift.
You are invited out to breakfast with a friend and bye bye goes the cereal you’d planned to gobble with a banana. Or you got a late start for yoga and neglected to grab the banana from the counter before you left the house.
There goes that after workout snack! By weeks end, you’re stuck with several to many overripe and black-ish looking bananas. You, too??
I almost NEVER toss an overripe banana. Instead, I peel it, pare any seriously bruised spots from it, and then freeze what’s left.
Yup. A rather unimpressive looking resource gets wrapped in a freezer bag and dropped into the abyss that is my chiller, only to be paired up with more like it a bit down the road.
Banana bread recipes…everybody has a favorite banana bread or banana bread muffins recipe they’ve acquired from their mom or grandmother. The recipe I am sharing today is an ultra-moist banana bread, so much so that I wrap and refrigerate uneaten portions.
No fancy whole wheat flour or bread flour is required for the batter, and nothing any more exotic than vanilla extract, baking spices, and the bananas themselves give this bread the level of flavor it yields.
What You’ll Need to Make Pecan Banana Streusel Bread
For the Streusel Topping
- unsalted butter
- all-purpose flour
- dark brown sugar
- chopped pecans
- Kosher salt
For the Glazed Banana Topping
- ripe banana
- brown sugar
- unsalted butter
For the Easy Banana Bread
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- Kosher salt
- VERY RIPE bananas
- dark brown sugar or light brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- granulated sugar
- unsalted butter
Why Pecans in This Banana Bread Recipe?
I don’t know, maybe because this is a Southern food blog, and I am able to access pecans easier than other nuts. But really, any nut works in my opinion.
If you want to still bake up a traditional banana nut bread but live in an area of the country where pecans mean having to spend out, reach instead for chopped walnuts or almonds. Slivered almonds would be absolutely gorgeous I like to think.
If you want to appear adventurous and money is no issue, look to macadamia nuts or even salted peanuts. Sweet n salty…get it? Yes! You can do that!
How To Prep a Loaf Pan When Baking Banana Bread?
Overhanging the parchment paper. I specify to do this when prepping your loaf pan. You will use these overhanging sides to lift the baked bread from the loaf pan.
It’s a must do, otherwise the delicious pecan streusel will mostly fall off. After all of this effort, you would not want to lose your topping.
I also specify the use of baking spray. This requirement is two-fold.
First, the baking spray ensures the parchment will stay once it’s inserted into the pan, kind of like a bit of glue. And remember, baking spray and cooking spray are not the same.
If you do not have baking spray, combine 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening, and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour in a food processor until it forms a smooth paste.
Scrape the mixture into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Use a pastry brush to ‘paint’ the mixture inside of your pans. Store in your pantry, not in your refrigerator.
Second, only the long sides of the loaf pan will be covered with the parchment. Therefore, the baking spray is necessary for the two remaining short sides of the pan for the loaf to release easily once baked.
How To Make Banana Bread?
In addition to my smashed bananas, I use for the bread batter, I will use a single banana to garnish the top of the loaf. As the loaf bakes, the crumb topping will set on either side of the loaf exposing a lovely little pathway of glazed bananas right down the middle.
I slice a ripe, but not necessarily overly ripe, banana into 1/2-inch coins. Next, I toss it into a bowl with 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter that I have mixed with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Then I stir to coat. I arrange them in a left to right offset scatter down the middle of the loaf.
I also assemble this banana bread with streusel topping that borders the glazed bananas on either side. As the loaf bakes, this checkered blanket of streusel and glazed bananas assists the crumb in retaining much of its moisture.
This quick banana bread recipe best exemplifies how I like to bake – a banana bread recipe with visual and taste-worthy umph.
Modifying The Norm To Make It Not Entirely Average…
Well, I have already discussed substituting nuts above, so what’s left are really odds and ends. I will add though that is banana pecan bread or any banana bread with nuts is unappealing, simply omit the nuts.
The banana bread streusel may be made without the pecans and by incorporating some toasted coconut, cinnamon, or nothing at all. The choice is yours.
Some fun ingredients to consider are shredded zucchini (drained and squeezed in a towel to deplete of all moisture), peanut butter chips, toffee bar chips, shredded carrot, or sweetened shredded coconut. I have even tried very well drained chopped strawberries and enjoyed it immensely.
Have semi sweet chips leftover from your last batch of chocolate chip cookies? I have added chocolate chips to this recipe for a chocolate chip banana bread and had it turn out wonderfully. And a basic cream cheese frosting on ANY banana quick bread instantly makes this bread more of a celebratory slice of cake.
I suppose adding additional unique ingredients into the bake depends on who you are baking for. You know; what they like or are allowed to eat.
Is Banana Bread Considered a Sweet?
The recipe that follows this dialog is a quick bread rather than a raised bread. It is sweet, dense, and very moist.
Its attributes are more cake-like than bread-like. I consider this (and label this) banana bread a cake or a sweet.
How Can I Quickly Ripen the Bananas I Have on Hand for Baking Banana Bread?
There you are, at home, and you’ve got “the baking itch.” You are craving a moist cake or muffin and look to available ingredients and spy those bananas on the counter.
BANANA BREAD! But…they are anything BUT overripe…
How can you hasten black bananas? EASY!
The abundance of natural sugars in overripe bananas is the secret to big flavor and serious moisture in this banana bread recipe. Well, in almost all banana bread, banana muffin, and banana cake recipes really.
But there is a seriously easy way to transform those “just right for cereal bananas” into “black bananas for baking.”
Place individual bananas on a baking sheet. I recommend lining the sheet with parchment to avoid the stickies.
Pop the lot into a pre-heated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes undisturbed. You are monitoring the fruits for their skins to turn black.
No need to worry about what’s happening on the inside. The flesh of the bananas will emerge from your oven brown, soft, and sweet.
This quick cycle through the oven accelerates the ripening process, coaxing those natural banana sugars from within the fruit.
This is how I generally prepare fruit for loaf after loaf around the holidays. I can almost never count on the bananas I purchase for recipes to be the correct degree of ripe on the day I begin my holiday baking.
Plan on just around one hour per loaf for baking this pecan banana bread. Begin testing for doneness at 45 to 50 minutes. When a bamboo skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, the loaf may be pulled from the oven. This recommendation is based on an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 – inch loaf pan.
NOTE: I have not used half-loaf or mini loaf pans with this recipe yet, so have insufficient bake times for them.
I do however generally try to bake 3 to 4 loaves at once. In doing this, I rotate the loaf pans half-way through the bake.
I also add a baking dish beneath the loaf pans on a lower rack and fill it with warm water. This water evaporates slowly and adds moisture to the oven air and generally keeps things from drying out.
ABSOLUTELY! Simply allow the loaf to cool completely. Next, wrap it tightly in two sheets of aluminum foil, then in either plastic film or a plastic freezer bag.
Make sure to press as much air out of the wraps as you are able. Mark with a kitchen label or tape with the name of the bread and the date it was frozen.
I go out of my way to gather recipes for breads that yield two loaves. I nibble on one straight out of the oven and freeze the other.
This way, I always have something made with love to pull out on short notice when company drops in. I also am sure to freeze a loaf for a batch of banana pecan bread pudding.
How To Serve Pecan Streusel Banana Bread?
I enjoy any quick bread with softened unsalted sweet cream butter. That and a cup of hot tea or coffee. Just leave me be alone with my thoughts or a crossword and I am as happy as a clam.
I have also enjoyed sweet quick breads like this easy Pecan Streusel Banana Bread recipe with a compatible compound butter such as cinnamon-maple or strawberry butter. Nothing too strong-tasting to overpower the banana though.
When serving this and other sweet quick breads for a Brunch or organized party, I am always sure to set out a softened cream cheese as well.
Pecan Banana Bread with Streusel Topping
- electric hand mixer
- 1 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan
- baking spray
for the pecan streusel topping
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup all purpose flour spooned/leveled
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar packed/leveled
- 1 cup pecans roughly chopped
- pinch Kosher salt do not substitute table salt or iodized salt
for the glazed bananas
- 1 ripe banana sliced into 1/2-inch coins
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
for the old fashioned banana bread
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour spooned/leveled
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt do not substitute table salt or iodized salt
- 1 ½ cups bananas 3 to 4 VERY RIPE, mashed
- ½ cup brown sugar dark or light, packed/leveled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 large eggs
prepare the 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with baking spray. Line with parchment paper that has been cut to fit, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides. Set aside.
assemble the pecan streusel topping
- Whisk together flour and brown sugar in a bowl combined making sure to break up any lumps of sugar. Add butter, pecans, and salt. Stir with a fork until clumps form. Chill while you assemble the glazed bananas and the banana bread batter.
prepare the glazed bananas
- Whisk the melted butter and the brown sugar together until the sugar is dissolved by half, about 3 minutes. Add the banana coins and toss well to coat ensuring all parts of each slice are coated. Leave in the sugar mixture on the counter while assembling the banana bread batter.
assemble the banana bread
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
- Using an electric hand mixer, beat together mashed bananas, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, melted butter, and eggs until combined in a second bowl.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir mixture with the tines of a fork until just combined. Transfer to prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon if necessary.
- Arrange the glazed banana coins by fanning from left to right in a straight line down the middle of the loaf. This step need not be perfect. *SEE VIDEO
- Sprinkle pecan streusel on either side of the banana coins. *SEE VIDEO
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes Use overhangs to remove from pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack.
- Enjoy warm after 20 to 25 minutes of cooling with soft sweet cream butter or plain.
If You Like This Recipe…
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How This Recipe Came About…
Years ago, a Southern Living sour cream banana bread with streusel topping WOW’d me. This particular method of banana bread with streusel in the middle was so moist and so entirely flavorful, it got me thinking that any time of year, even the holidays, were a perfect time for gifting banana and pecan bread.
Surprisingly enough, my own recipe did not come about because I did not know what to do with my rotten bananas! This recipe came about because of tight purse strings around the holidays.
If y’all have been following my posts for a while, you already know that Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s is a homemade feast fest around these parts.
Nothing beats being able to make a small bag or basket filled with a selection of breads, marmalades, and cookies to gift to friends and family.
I do this. I do this and I never tire of the reactions I receive when recipients begin to peruse their goodies. But…the cost can sometimes defeat the purpose.
I am very careful throughout the year to stock up on unsalted butter when it goes on sale. Pecans, too.
Dairy is where dollar signs tend to stack up for me. This is especially true because I bake up anywhere from 18 to 22 loaves of banana bread alone just in the week preceding Christmas.
Many quick bread recipes call for sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, or cream cheese. They do so to achieve a super moist and perfectly tender crumb.
In other words, the bread among breads. Well, until this bread.
That’s right, no sour cream, no buttermilk, no yogurt, and no cream cheese to keep this bread moist. None…and yet somehow, this is beyond perfect. It is the definition of moist.
That is one beautiful loaf of bread! Coffee time! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party! Enjoy the rest of your week.
Helen, right??! And it’s a gooey kind of banana bread too boot!
I just made this and it came out beautifully!!! I’m at 5’000 ft but chose not to adjust it at all and it was perfect. I baked it in a Pullman loaf pan as that’s what I had and it needed 66 minutes. The only difference was I cut in cold butter into the streusel so it would stay on top better. This is definitely my new favorite. I love how impressive the toppings looked too. Thank you!
Daniela, I am impressed that you conquered this in a Pullman pan! That is like ‘true professional bakery-style’ banana bread! Thank you for mentioning your altitude; this is huge for home bakers needing a barometer to go by, and you have just answered a big Q for so many. I’m glad you enjoyed it – it’s giftable, right? I give it out all of the time, lol 🙂 x – Jenny