What's the Key Ingredient for the Best Banana Bread Ever?

By Bon Appétit

Here at BA everybody has their favorite banana bread recipe. We made every one—14 to be exact—until we came up with a collective favorite. Dark brown sugar is key and a dollop of mascarpone makes for superior tenderness.

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

  • ⅓ cup mascarpone

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 large eggs

  • 4 large very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1½ cups)

  • ½ cup chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (optional)

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 8 ½x4 ½” loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on long sides. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

See more: Don’t Wait for Thanksgiving to Try This Pie

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar, mascarpone, and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition and scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate and/or walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.

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Bake bread until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 60–65 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let bread cool in pan 1 hour. Turn out bread and let cool completely (if you can resist) before slicing.

photo: Alex Lau

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