I’m not sure where the idea of putting bourbon into banana bread came from, but I’m glad I did it – the bread gave off a deep caramel aroma and it accentuated the sweetness of the banana. In my now-predicable move, I substituted cranberries for walnuts, as I prefer tartness in quickbreads and because I always have cranberries in the freezer. However, if you like nuts and fruit in your banana bread — and even chocolate — by all means, do what tastes best to you.
If you don’t have sour cream on hand, full-fat whole-milk Greek yogurt will work beautifully instead. I’ve not tried this with a plant-based yogurt, but suspect that something like Cocojune brand yogurt will work fine as well (use egg substitute in place of eggs).
UPDATE: Kris in the comment section, very accurately pointed out to me that JD is not bourbon but is sour mash whiskey – a very good point indeed. For those of you looking for a quick primer on the difference, I found one here!
Easy Banana Bread with Cranberries
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (3 medium bananas)
1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon or dark rum
1/2 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen; if frozen, no need to defrost)
1 small ripe banana, peeled and halved lengthwise (optional)
Demerara sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, or using the bowl of a stand mixer, which has been fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, and beat to incorporate.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the mashed bananas, sour cream, bourbon or rum, and vanilla, and mix on low just to combine. Stir in the cranberries and pour into prepared pan; smooth out the top with an offset spatula, if you like. Add the halved banana on top, if using, and sprinkle with the demerara sugar, if using.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then run a butter knife around the perimeter of the bread and turn out onto a rack to cool.
The bread tastes better if you let it sit overnight, uncovered, to dry up a little bit and let the flavors meld.