Sweet breads are a satisfying accompaniment to any holiday meal. My mother-in-law knows this well. In addition to the usual dinner rolls that are always a must at a big feast, she serves several kinds of sweet bread. Usually that includes pumpkin, zucchini and banana bread.

This year at Thanksgiving, I was in charge of bringing the banana bread. It was kind of my mother-in-law to give me this assignment since banana bread is my favorite sweet bread to make… and eat.

About a dozen years ago, I decided to make banana bread a little more interesting (and even sweeter) by adding the crumb topping I use for fruit pies. Why not? As my husband says, “of all the crummy things in the world, I like crumb topping the best.” This has now become my default banana bread recipe. 

I prep my banana bread early. In fact, as soon as I notice that a banana is getting overripe, I put it in the freezer. Just as-is. No need for a freezer bag since the skin will keep it protected. As one blogger wrote, “it comes with its own storage container!” (Here are three other ways to freeze bananas.)

Once there are five bananas in the freezer, it’s time to make banana bread. Thaw the bananas on a plate, peel them, mash the fruit, and you have the beginnings of banana bread.

Most sweet breads are better when you spread some cream cheese on a slice. But with this banana bread, I don’t even use butter. It would be like buttering cake!

I recommend covering the bread with foil after it has baked for about 30 minutes, then baking it for the remaining time. That way the crumb topping won’t burn. I was afraid I’d burned the top of the banana bread pictured here, but actually it was deliciously caramelized.

Banana bread

Banana Bread with Crumb Topping
Author: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
Bread
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp cardamom
  • 5 mashed bananas
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup melted butter (one stick)
Crumb topping
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 T butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Mix dry ingredients for the bread. Make a well in the center.
  2. Mix mashed bananas, sugar, and melted butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
  3. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.
  4. Combine brown sugar and flower. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or use your hands--that is a good way to make sure the butter gets thoroughly mixed through).
  5. Pour the crumb topping on top of the batter and bake the bread for 55-60 minutes. (For the last 15-20 minutes, I covered it with foil to keep the topping from burning.)

 

More Recipes for Your Holiday Menu

Now that that’s taken care of, how about some other recipes for your holiday menu?

Appetizers

Cranberry & Brie Cups

Honey Mustard Baked Brie

Spanakopita

Seriously guilt-free veggie dip

Main Course

Fresh Turkey with Turkey Gravy

Sides

Mashed Potatoes

Potato Filling (recipe courtesy of our friends at Weaver’s Orchard)

Golden-crusted Brussels Sprouts

Lavender Honey Carrots

Apple & Kale Salad

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple Bacon Vinaigrette

Dessert

Apple Slab Pie with Maple Glaze (recipe courtesy of guest blogger Pat Nogar)