Etsy Journal

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Elevate Any Basic Banana Bread With This Tasty Trick

by Aravis Moore

Feb 17, 2021

The secret to making this classic comfort food even more warm and inviting? Topping it off with a fruity flourish.

Two loaves of freshly baked banana bread, one with a fig and walnut topping, and one with a sliced banana topping.
Photo by: Aravis Moore

Editor’s note, February 2021: True, this past year we've been getting more and more creative with our bakes, but the colder, cozier months have us craving some of the classics—like this simple and scrumptious twist on an everyday banana bread.

They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and I don’t want to go against conventional wisdom, but—they also say that we eat with our eyes. And with all the mouthwatering banana breads showing up in our social feeds recently, you may be feeling tempted to add some eye-pleasing oomph to your own tried-and-true recipe. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a pastry degree to decorate this classic comfort bake. To make the outer glamour match the inner goodness, all you need are a few edible embellishments foraged from your pantry. 

You can begin by baking your favorite recipe, or follow my instructions below for a warm, inviting loaf that’s sure to draw the whole family together around the table. Top off with a tasty flourish and you’ll be well on your way to banana bread bliss. I love using halved walnuts and fresh figs—but, for all you sugar fiends, consider a sprinkling of streusel or a handful of chocolate chips. If all you have is bananas, you can set one aside to slice lengthwise for a simple decorative finish.

Banana bread ready to be popped in the oven

Fig and Walnut Banana Bread

Yields 1 loaf

You will need:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 medium, ripe bananas (optional: reserve one banana for topping)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup walnut halves (optional)
  • 4 fresh figs (optional)
  • 1 standard 8½ x 4x½ loaf pan

Step 1: Gather ingredients and garnishes

Banana bread ingredients laid out on a table.

Measure out your ingredients and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan with butter or shortening.

Step 2: Bring on the bananas

Aravis mashing bananas with a fork.

Peel 3-4 medium-sized, ripe bananas. Mash with a fork if you prefer bigger bites of fruit, or puree for a more uniform texture. Set aside.

Step 3: Mix it up

Aravis mixing dry ingredients

Aravis adding mashed banana to wet ingredients.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the oil and sugar together until combined. Add the eggs and mix to blend. Add the milk and vanilla, and whisk until incorporated. Stir in the mashed bananas. 

Step 4: Make the batter

Aravis adding dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

Aravis stirring the batter until just combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon. 

Step 5: Finish with a flourish

Aravis adding figs to the top of the batter.

Aravis sprinkling sugar over the top of the prepared batter.

Arrange your pre-selected toppings in a pretty pattern on top of the batter, pressing them down lightly. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar.

Step 6: Bake and serve

Two completed bread loaves on a wooden serving board.

Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the banana bread cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before turning out. Slice, butter, and serve on a pretty wooden bread board.

Get your baking staples

Put some extra pep in your prep-work with these pretty kitchen essentials.

A collage of baking staples available on Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Apron from Softer and Wild, $44; patterned rolling pin from Make 8 Bake, $29; ceramic mixing bowls from Ingrid Debard Ceramics, from $40; hand-painted forest measuring spoons from 7 Doors Studio, $46

Shop more cooking and baking basics

Recipe photographed by Aravis Moore.

Aravis Moore

Aravis is the food program lead in the Brooklyn office. She's also a home pie baker and a newly minted jigsaw-puzzle aficionado.