Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8.5 x 4.5 inch or a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Also line it with a strip of parchment paper along the bottom, making sure it comes up over the ends so you can use it as a handle to lift the loaf out once cooked.
Peel the bananas then add them to a large mixing bowl and mash them with a fork or masher until they are a pretty smooth puree.
Add the oil/nut butter, sugar, molasses, salt and optional cinnamon or cardamom, then beat well until smooth.
Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl and gently stir it all together. Do not over-mix. You want it so that it is just combined and you cannot see any dry flour throughout the mixture. Overmixing or beating it hard will affect the texture of the banana bread.
Pour/spoon the batter into your prepared pan. If you want to you can sprinkle the top with some granulated sugar for a nice crunchy texture, or add some banana slices for decoration.
Bake in the oven for around 50 minutes or until a tooth pick or skewer comes out clean when inserted through the middle.
Lift out of the pan, remove parchment paper and cool on a cooling rack.
Weigh the ingredients, particularly the flour, for the very best results. Cups are not an accurate enough measure for good and consistent results when baking.
Don't over-mix the batter.
Use really ripe and spotty bananas for the best results. The softer the better.
Even if your loaf pan is non-stick, I recommend lining the bottom of it with a strip of parchment paper. One long strip that goes along the bottom and overhangs the ends is fine, then it can act as handles for you to easily lift the loaf out once it’s baked. I love USA Pan Loaf Pans.
I highly recommend topping the loaf with some thick slices of banana before baking. They get really fudgy and delicious once baked.
How can you tell when it’s cooked properly? You can use the toothpick test. Stick it in the centre and if it comes out clean then it is done. Or gently press down on the center of the loaf. If it bounces back completely, it is done. If your finger leaves a dent in the loaf it needs more time.
Let the loaf cool completely before you cut it. I know it’s tempting to break into it when it’s still warm, but if you let all of the steam inside escape, you will affect the quality of the crumb and it won’t keep as well.
Storage & FreezingStore leftover banana bread in an airtight container for 5 to 6 days.To freeze, cool the banana bread thoroughly on a cooling rack then wrap really well (either in a freezer-safe storage container or a freezer bag) and place in the freezer. You can keep it whole or slice it prior to freezing. Slicing it enables you to pull out a piece or two as needed rather than defrosting the entire loaf. It can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost at room temperature. Placing it on a cool rack where air can circulate ensures that it won't get damp as it defrosts.