Brow Beat

Banana Bread in Half the Time

Golden brown banana bread scones on a wire rack.
Julia Gartland

If you are like me, an icy banana lands on your toe most times you open the freezer door.

Some people like to unsheath them, maybe even pre-chop and keep them in a neat bag for swifter smoothies and one-ingredient ice cream. Again, if you are like me, you didn’t remember to do that.

If you are like Samantha Seneviratne, graceful food stylist, soothing on-screen talent, and author of the new cookbook The Joys of Baking, you might have come across a spare baking banana in another way: Her son Arthur didn’t like eating bananas as a toddler, so whenever he saw one, he’d throw it across the room. Her book is filled with poignant essays and stories like this, in chapters driven by the feelings that inspire us to bake: Courage, Bliss, Love, Wisdom, and Grace (the banana-throwing chapter).

But back to what I meant by baking bananas: They’re the ones that are so ripe and sticky-sweet and banged-about, you might not be excited to eat them as-is. And the wonderful thing about baking bananas is you don’t have to.

They’re ideal for banana bread, which I bake regularly (usually with my mom’s recipe) when my freezer is really heaving them at me—or when I’ve been sheltered in place for six weeks and counting. But this means that, along with the rest of the baking internet, I’ve been eating a whole lot of it lately.

A cracked loaf in a glass pan.
Kristen Miglore

So it’s especially wonderful now to get a new way to love baking bananas—one with all the comforts of a classic banana bread, but with crunchy-sweet edges on every side and fluffed, buttery insides like a warm biscuit. With oozy chocolate and toasted nuts making pockets and hillocks throughout. And—most importantly, most promisingly—in about half the time.

Because while banana bread is blessedly quick to mash together, it often bakes for a good hour or more, then needs to cool at least a little bit before you tear off a piece, and a lot longer if you want a clean slice.

In Samantha’s Banana Bread Scones, you’re still bashing together a baked good quickly—with two table knives or your hands to cut in the butter, then a fork to stir the dough into a ball. (Less fuss means colder butter—and colder butter means fluffier scones.)

But better yet, they bake in about 20 minutes and you can eat them as soon as they won’t burn your tongue. By this point, banana bread would still be goo in the oven.

So for the impatient, for the crunchy-edge curious, for those who’ve been blessed with a banana thrown at their feet—this recipe can join the ranks of our favorite banana breads (and help us keep our freezers in check).

Banana Bread Scones From Samantha Seneviratne

Makes 8 scones.

• 1 extra-large, extra-ripe banana, mashed (1/2 cup)
• 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1/2-inch pieces
• 2 1/4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
• 1 1/4 ounces hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
• Sanding sugar for sprinkling (or turbinado or granulated)

See the full recipe on Food52.

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