Two weeks ago, I received an order for a hummingbird cake, so I went out and bought the necessary coconut, pecans, pineapple, and bananas. But things happen, and I had to cancel four days before the cake was scheduled for delivery; a friend of mine passed, and I was asked to cater the memorial. It was something to which I simply could not say “no.” So the bananas continued to brown, and the first half of the Fourth of July weekend was spent marathon-cooking with my friend, David, going to the service, and making sure all of the 100+ guests were fed.
I got home Saturday night and noticed the browning bananas on my way to bed, figuring I’d throw them in something the next day. Sunday, my friend Liz came over to make pie, and the bananas were neglected again. I went into work unexpectedly on the Fourth of July, so no baking happened that day.
When I went to pour my cold brew on Tuesday morning, I noticed the little bunch of bananas drooping off my baker’s rack, brown and visibly soft, seemingly minutes away from being inedible. And so I peeled and mashed all four and gently stirred them into banana bread batter. I poured it into a loaf pan with every intention of keeping it plain…but that’s not really my style. Classic banana bread is great, but I’m the kind of baker who loves to add cinnamon swirls, layers of cheesecake, or at the very least, a handful of chocolate chips anywhere I can. But it’s hard to add any of that stuff once the batter’s in the pan and the oven is making your kitchen a sauna. I was about to tap the pan on the counter and slide it into the oven, but then I paused, grabbed a half-stick of butter I had leftover in the fridge, a canister of oats, and some walnuts, and mixed up a quick crumble to sprinkle over the top before baking.
When I took the loaf out of the oven, I had no intention of posting the recipe. The oat crumble had huge, beautiful clusters, my whole apartment smelled of cinnamon and bananas, and I couldn’t wait to have a slice before heading to work, but who really needs another banana bread recipe? Once you have a good one, you make it over and over, forever-and-ever-amen. I already have a whole wheat version on here, and I wasn’t planning to add another anytime soon. Plus, I had a lemon cake on the docket. Again, I was not going to post this recipe.
But then, I ate a slice. And I followed it with a second one. All afternoon at work, I thought about the soft cinnamon-banana bread base and the crispy, crunchy combination of oats, toasted walnuts, and brown sugar in the crumble. It really is perfection in a mouthful. And so the lemon cake got pushed to next week, and here I am posting a second banana bread recipe.
And that, my friends, is the very long story of how this Oat Crumble Banana Bread recipe came to appear on this blog.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup plain yogurt (nonfat is fine)
4 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and line it with parchment, leaving a little overhang on the long sides. Grease the parchment. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and brown sugar, followed by eggs, plain yogurt, and mashed bananas. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir the batter together in no more than 20 strokes. There may be some small bits of visible flour–this is fine.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Set aside while you prepare the oat crumble.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together oats, flour, cinnamon, light brown sugar, salt, and walnuts. Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use your fingers to scatter the crumble over the top of the banana bread batter. Tap the full pan on the counter five times before baking for 55-65 minutes, tenting with foil at the 30 minute mark. The banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
Let the bread cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use the parchment overhang to lift the bread out of the pan onto a cutting board. Slice and serve.
Oat Crumble Banana Bread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to ten days.