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Streusel-Topped Banana Bread: Taking a Classic to the Next Level

The usual reason for making banana bread is that you have some bananas that you’ve let get overripe. But this streusel-topped banana bread is special enough that it’s worth making for its own sake. Heck, it’s worth going out and buying bananas for.

Streusel topping adds texture to the moist, cakey crumb. With whole-wheat flour and a hint of cornmeal, the texture is satisfying and hearty–just right for January. The nutmeg, vanilla, and ginger combine to give it a festive feel that’s especially nice now that we’ve entered the dreariest part of winter. And, best of all, it’s sweet enough to have a dessert but not so sweet that it can’t be a breakfast, too.

Streusel-Topped Banana Ginger Bread
makes one loaf

for the batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup fine ground corn meal
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 heaping teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup candied ginger, minced
3 ripe bananas, lightly mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the streusel
3/8 cup all-purpose flour
3/8 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Liberally grease a glass loaf pan.

To prepare the streusel, cream the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and cream for a few minutes longer. Then add the flour and salt. Finally, check the mixture with your finger tips to make sure it is well-combined and moist. Set the topping aside while you prepare the batter.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, sugar, and spices. In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed. Then add the eggs, yogurt, candied ginger, and vanilla. Fold in the mashed banana. Finally, fold in the flour mixture gradually. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Top with the prepared streusel, adding about 1/4″ of topping.

Place on the pan on a baking sheet and into the preheated oven. Bake for 70-80 minutes. Towards the end, check frequently and pull the bread when a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (be sure you have something long enough to check doneness all the way through). Cool for at least 30 minutes and serve.

I like this banana bread with a pat of butter, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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