Maple-Banana Bread

February 7, 2010(updated on July 1, 2022)
banana-maple bread

We got 28.5 inches of snow here in Philadelphia over the last 24 hours. I bought oranges, lemons and grapefruit yesterday before the storm hit, thinking that I might take advantage of the snow day and make a batch of mixed citrus marmalade.

Instead, I embraced the slowness of the snow and rambled through the day. I walked over to my cousins’ house and spent a couple of hours helping celebrate Derek’s third birthday. Back at home, I did some dishes and organized canning jars (I invest more time in this particular endeavor than I care to admit). For dinner, I quickly cooked some broccoli and reheated the rest of the chicken pot pie I made on Thursday night. And I transformed some seriously blackened bananas into Maple-Banana Bread.

I’d been watching these bananas get progressively blacker and less appealing for most of the week. Each time I made dinner, I’d move them from one counter top and then back again, always mentally promising them that I’d use them before they were beyond salvation. Today, with the snow and general coziness, baking just felt like the obvious choice.

I used to be devoted to the banana bread recipe in the late sixties edition of The Joy of Cooking (when left to its own devices, my mother’s copy opens right to that recipe). However, over the years I’ve tweaked it so thoroughly, that it’s hardly related to the original. This version lives on an index card in my kitchen, tucked between the radio and my kitchen scale. Made with whole wheat pastry flour, wheat germ and maple syrup, it manages to be tender and not too sweet (perfect with a dab of apple or pear butter!).

So gather your aging bananas and bake up a batch this weekend!

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Maple-Banana Bread


  • 4 tablespoons softened butter that’s half a stick
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana that’s 2-3 bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon of maple extract it boosts the flavor of the syrup. If you don’t have any, just use a splash of vanilla instead
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup pecans toasted and chopped


  • Preheat over to 350 degrees and butter a standard sized loaf pan.
  • Beat the butter, maple syrup, egg, banana and vanilla together (it will be a lumpy slurry). In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Add them to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Add the pecans and mix until they’re integrated. Scrape the batter into the greased loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Use a skewer or toothpick to test for doneness.
  • Eat warm from the pan. On the second day, it is best briefly toasted and buttered.

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8 thoughts on "Maple-Banana Bread"

  • While preparing for our last big storm, I went to the store to stock up only to discover that many of the shelves were bare. What I didn’t understand was why all the eggs had disappeared, but the incredulous woman standing next to me inadvertently explained it all: “What? Is everyone baking cookies today?” Alas, no baking for me this time around. Just heavy blogging.

  • Ted, I don’t really understand it, but for some reason, when confronted with snow, Philadelphians feel compelled to buy milk, eggs and bread.

    Sarah, I’m so glad you like my recipes! It seems as though we have a similar approach to food, as our banana breads have a lot in common.

  • Great recipe. I haven’t tried it but intend to when I have some bananas. What I like about the recipe is the modest amounts of fat, natural sweeteners, and w/w flour. Why aren’t there bananas when I want some? Oh, I know, I eat them like some people eat chocolate!

    Just found this site and am sad it took so long for me to do that. It is on to the archives for me!

    I find that more and more these days, I’m creating recipes that are low in sugar and fat and that use whole grains. I’m glad you appreciate it too! -Marisa

  • I was looking for some banana recipes, and came across this! I just had to comment, because my counterpart to your Joy of Cooking is the Settlement Cookbook my mother gave me when I first moved to NY about 12 years ago. Given to its own devices, MY copy opens right to the banana bread page, (with its second choice being pancakes). 🙂