Some days just feel like good days to turn on the oven. The kind of day when you think you might-could crank up the heater, but instead you let the oven do the work… and maybe throw in a simple, fragrant loaf of banana bread. It’s a win-win-win: warmth, aroma, and actual fresh banana bread.
I made this loaf of banana gluten-free using an all-purpose 1-for-1 flour mix. I really like King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi Purpose flour because it tastes clean. Bob’s Red Mill is also good but has more of a bean flavor. Glutino, also found in many grocery stores is a great option.
I should do a baking test of gluten-free flours, shouldn’t I? Yes.
First, banana bread.
Banana bread is supposed to be fast and loose. We can bend the baking rules. Thank goodness!
Bending the baking rules sometimes means mashing together bananas and brown sugar in a large liquid measuring, because… I mean, a bowl is a bowl.
I’d also like you to know that I dropped this measuring cup on the floor while trying to wash it. It broke into 1 million tiny pieces. RIP sturdy measuring cup. You were a good one. Thank you for your great service. You will be missed.
Browned butter, mashed banana, brown sugar, and vanilla are whisked together with eggs before they’re mixed with the dry ingredients.
We’re building flavors one ingredient at a time. Brown butter and brown sugar are the heavy hitters. Anything browned. Anything molasses-y. That’s what we want.
I always want a crumble on a quick bread.
It’s a wonder I don’t just slice the top half of the entire loaf off and eat it myself. Like a muffin-top bandit but for entire quick breads. It’s the buttery oat topping. Irresistible and crisp.
Baked to golden.
You’ll know it’s done when your kitchen smells impossibly good. Like comfort and success and bananas and weekend. Exactly like that.
This bread is so tender, moist, and light I nearly forgot it was free of fluffy gluten. It’s amiable, not overly nutty or beany (as some gluten-free flours can be), and it’s just comforting and delicious.
I topped the bread with a drizzle of salted caramel because (as always) it seemed like the right, decadent, ridiculous, smart thing to do.
Oven, cranked. Happy Baking!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, browned and cooled slightly
- 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cup mashed banana (from about 3 medium bananas)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- scant 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts. When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown. Swirl the pan as the butter cooks. When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer the butter to a small bowl. Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and buttermilk.
- When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.
- Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients. Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to reveal any hidden pockets of flour. Fold together ingredients, but try not to over stir.
- Spoon batter into prepared pan.
- To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the bread pan.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Bread will last 4 days, well wrapped at room temperature. This loaf also freezes well. Just before ready to serve, drizzle with salted caramel.
- To make the caramel, add sugar, water, and corn syrup to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring once or twice. Bring to a boil and allow to brown. Once sugar has browned to a medium amber color, remove from heat and immediately add heavy cream and butter. Mixture will boil and foam. Stir well. Add salt and stir well to incorporate. Caramel may seem thin… that’s ok. Allow to cool in the refrigerator to thicken, or drizzle warm and loose over your banana bread. Your choice! You can't go wrong.