Was it Worth it: Is Julia’s banana bread really the best?

Julia's Best Banana Bread

  • The Background: My love for cooking magazines is well-known so it’s no surprise that this recipe is straight from Bon Appetit (March 2013). What might actually surprise you is that my fellow-blogger Liz from Food For Fun/deLizious food communications beat me to making it! Her post/recipe review, found here, is what inspired me to make this banana bread immediately instead of letting the recipe get buried in my pile of things to make “someday.”

  • The Substitutions: Brace yourself — I managed to make this without substituting one single thing! Of course, the recipe only calls for seven ingredients so maybe it’s not that much of an accomplishment, but still…I felt good about it.
  • The Mysterious: Reading the reviews on this recipe, I discovered that apparently there are “missing secret ingredients” that those in the know use while making their version of Julia’s banana bread. They like to taunt other readers by not sharing. I figure most chefs hold back some part of their recipe so it wasn’t much of a shock…though I’ll admit that I kind of really want to know what’s missing!
  • The Part That Scared Me: I was very convinced when I first pulled the loaf out from the oven that it was burnt. The cooking time was around 60 minutes, which felt long, and when it was finally cooked through the edges were very dark. I was seriously thinking I’d have to trim all of the edges off before serving it!

Julia's Best Banana Bread

Even though the edges were dark, the top was a dangerously delicious golden brown.

Even though the edges were dark, the top was a dangerously delicious golden brown.

  • The Verdict: This bread was absolutely fabulous!! The edges weren’t burnt tasting at all. Instead they were practically caramelized in the best possible way giving crunch and depth to each bite. The inside was incredibly moist and flavorful. Yes, there is a lot of oil in this so it does seem slightly greasy, but it’s for good reason. I kept this bread for five days, sneaking slices here and there, and it was just as moist on the last day as the first day. Seriously! I brought it to my office on day five and no one could believe that I hadn’t made it the night before.

Julia's Best Banana Bread

  • The Next Time: My friend Oliver gave me the stink eye when I mentioned that I wanted to play around with the recipe. It was so good — why mess with perfection? But because I love coconut oil, I think next time I might switch out some of the vegetable oil for it instead. I’ll keep you posted when I try it out, hopefully it’s a seamless switch. And I might add some nuts, because that’s how I roll. But trust me, I’m definitely adding this to my list of favorite things ever and I plan to make it often.
Toasted in the oven and slathered in coconut oil -- this tasted like the tropics!

Toasted in the oven and slathered in coconut oil — this tasted like the tropics!



13 thoughts on “Was it Worth it: Is Julia’s banana bread really the best?

  1. Wow–you take a great photo! Thanks for linking me, J–what fun πŸ™‚ Am duly impressed that you didn’t tweak. I remember it being tough to not. Had forgotten about that “secret ingredient”–good insight that chefs hold back. Any guesses what it could be? Some sort of flavoring? Yours definitely got darker on the edges than mine, so maybe I pulled it sooner. Coconut oil sounds like an awesome sub–yes, more tropics! Woo hoo, you πŸ™‚

    • It was *really* hard not to tweak! But I stayed strong — and remembered that you resisted as well. =) I don’t have clue what the secret ingredient could be — could be a spice (cinnamon) or maybe a different kind of oil? Maybe something native to Hawaii to give it that extra love? I made another loaf with coconut oil last night and it turned out amazing — surprisingly not as much coconut flavor come through, but it was still crazy moist and less greasy feeling. I think that’s how i’m going to do it from here on out!

  2. I just read that article a few weeks ago! Thanks for trying out the recipe for us. I may have to give it a go soon. BTW I ended up sort of making the chicken with oregano but not really the way it should have been made because I didn’t get a chance to get all of the ingredients. My husband and kids still really liked it but next time I will do it the right way and let you know what happens!!

    • Oh man — as soon as you have some brown bananas, make this!! So good! I made my second batch last night. =) With the chicken did you use the cooking method at least? I thought that was even more interesting than recipe. I’ve never been told to start a protein in a room temp pan but the skin off that chicken was WOW! Crispy wonderfulness.

      • Yes I did use the cooking method and chicken legs instead of thighs. I also made the sauce, but I didn’t have a whole lemon so I just added lemon juice, which I am sure changes the flavor a ton. That’s pretty much all I changed though!

  3. I live in Maui and I just recently ate the famous banana bread. And now I am on the hunt for a recipe that will at least come close to it. When I saw this website I quickly clicked the link only to find a “Page Not Found” message on my web browser. 😦 Any way anybody wrote the recipe down and could send it to me? Please, please, please??? (Yes, I am begging). I will love you long time if you do! πŸ˜‰ Thank you!

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