blueberry banana bread

A few years back, I used to go on weekly breakfast outings with my friend Evan. Working restaurant jobs, we both shared a common day off in the middle of the week which gave us the perfect excuse to wake up early and check out different breakfast places around town.

One day he recommended Marie Callender’s, of which I was skeptical. I didn’t recall much about the food, aside from the times my mom would take my sisters and I there for dinner when we were kids. My only memories of the place included spaghetti dinners, all-I-could-drink Shirley Temples, and the pie case that taunted you as you walked in the door.

Imagine to my surprise, that Evan and I were served some rather delicious complimentary breakfast bread before our meal arrived that morning. Up to that point, I had never had blueberry banana bread, but I was hell-bent on making it for myself. All those years later, and here it finally is! All the wonderful qualities of a sweet, soft loaf of banana bread, but packed with juicy blueberries. Yeah, it is good, in case you had any doubts.

blueberry banana bread

(makes one 9×5 inch loaf; recipe adapted from this one)

3 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 c (116 g) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 g) vanilla extract
2 c (263 g) all purpose flour
3/4 c (150 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 g) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 g) baking soda
1/4 tsp (2 g) salt
1 tsp (3 g) cinnamon
1 c (156 g) frozen blueberries, divided

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prep a 9×5 inch loaf pan; spray the pan with cooking spray and line the pan with a sling of parchment paper that extends over the long sides of the pan only, by about 1 inch per side.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl with a potato masher until they’re basically pureed with a few larger chunks. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, and stir to combine; set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Pour half of this dry mixture into the banana mixture, and stir just until no streaks of flour are visible. Repeat with the other half of the dry ingredients.

Grab your prepared loaf pan and pour in half the batter. Spread it flat with a spatula, and sprinkle on a half cup of the frozen blueberries. Pour the remaining batter over the berries, and smooth the top. Scatter the remaining half cup of berries over the top of the batter.

Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 60-70 minutes. The bread is done if a wooden skewer or long pick comes out free of batter when inserted into the center of the loaf. Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then carefully lift out of the pan using the paper sling to help you. Set the papered loaf on a cooling rack to cool completely at room temperature.

To serve, cut the cooled bread into as thick of slices as you wish. It’s great with a slathering of butter, or even just plain. My favorite way to eat it, is after the loaf has been kept in the fridge for a few hours so the bread becomes dense and cold. If there are any leftovers, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place in a zip top bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

I have only vague memories of that blueberry banana bread from Marie Callender’s, but this version is probably even more delicious because it was made by my own two hands. It makes a great addition to a big breakfast or brunch spread, or as a simple and quick rush-out-the-door type breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea.

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