The Very Best Banana Bread
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2-3 very ripe bananas (about 1and 1/2 cups)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9” by 5” loaf pan. In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Add the bananas and continue to beat until smooth. Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Sift together the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground nutmeg and salt. Add dry ingredients gradually to the banana batter and beat until just combined. Stir in the nuts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix a bit more to be sure all of the ingredients are combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, making sure that it is no more that two-thirds full. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Insert a cake tester into the center of the loaf. It should come out clean. The loaf should be should be golden brown and dry to the touch. Let the loaf rest in the pan on a rack for about 5 minutes and then remove it from the pan and let it cool completely. Cut into thick slices to serve.