Brown Butter Banana Bread with White Chocolate Chips and Frangelico is the best banana bread we've ever eaten! It's super moist, subtly sweet and has a toasted marshmallow flavor. Use hazelnut liqueur or the booze of your choice, or substitute almond extract.
If you don't like white chocolate, hang on a minute. You'll never catch me eating a white chocolate bunny, either.
But something magical happens when a handful of white chocolate chips is thrown into brown sugar banana bread with brown butter and hazelnut liqueur. The entire combination produces a toasted-marshmallow accent that perfectly complements the banana base. A touch of cinnamon rounds out the flavors without being pushy.
This banana bread recipe is AH-MAZING.
And really, the only extra step is browning the butter. It's worth the five minutes, I promise.
What's brown butter?
Brown butter is simply butter cooked just past the point of melting. The milk solids will brown and create a toasty, nutty taste in about 3-5 minutes.
How to make brown butter
- Place the butter in a small pan over medium high heat and watch it carefully as it melts. Lower the heat a bit and swirl the pan or use a spoon to stir the butter around.
- The butter will foam, and eventually, the milk solids will start to brown. Keep watching the butter so it doesn't burn.
- The butter is browned when it is a caramel color. As soon as it reaches that stage, turn off the heat and transfer the butter to a bowl. (Otherwise it will continue to cook and can burn.)
Now that we've gone over the flavors, let's talk about texture. I need to use the M-word, because this is super moist banana bread.
How to make moist banana bread
The secrets are:
- Brown Sugar - Brown sugar contains molasses and makes baked goods extra soft and tender.
- Very Ripe Bananas - This recipe calls for three medium bananas -- the spotted kind lingering on your counter because no one wants to eat them. Those soft bananas are perfect for banana bread. If you don't have any, try using the oven method to quickly ripen bananas.
- Brown Butter - Melted butter instead of creamed butter gives the banana bread a wonderful, dense texture.
Can you use whole wheat flour?
Yes!!! In fact, I've made this with white whole wheat flour more times than all-purpose flour.
The whole wheat banana bread is slightly more dense and doesn't crack on top as much as the all-purpose version. (I used all-purpose flour in the banana bread you see here.)
Both versions are excellent, so use what you have. I store white whole wheat flour in the freezer and sometimes use it in place of white flour in this Lemon Zucchini Bread with Walnuts, 5-Ingredient Beer Bread and these Blueberry Muffins with Olive Oil.
Can you use regular chocolate chips?
I haven't tested this chocolate chip banana bread recipe with anything except white chocolate. I use the Ghirardelli brand (affililate link), since the chips don't have any hydrogenated oils.
But...I would try milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips as a substitute. You're going to want some sweetness here. Keep in mind, you may lose some of the marshmallow taste the white chocolate brings in combination with the other ingredients.
What to substitute for the Frangelico
If you're not able to use hazelnut liqueur such as Frangelico (affiliate link), try using bourbon. Amaretto would be nice too.
And, if you need to skip the alcohol, try 1 ½ teaspoons of almond extract instead.
How to store banana bread
I recommend wrapping this banana bread in foil and leaving it at room temperature. It's so moist, you don't want to use plastic wrap.
The bread will keep well for 4-5 days, if you still have any left. Seriously...it's gone by day 2 in my house.
You also could freeze the banana bread by wrapping it in foil, then placing it in a freezer bag. For best taste, use it within three months, but it won't ever spoil.
The best way to enjoy this
After much research...you've got to try warming up a slice in the microwave and then spreading some creamy butter on top. To die for!!!
P.S. You have to try my banana bread pancakes and this banana pizza! And the combination of white chocolate and Frangelico is used in these hazelnut biscotti. Finally, don't miss all my banana smoothies!
(Recipe Source: Cooking with Mamma C. Originally posted on September 1, 2015 and updated now with new photos and text.)
Brown Butter Banana Bread with White Chocolate Chips
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, peel and mash the bananas.
- Brown the butter: In a small pan, heat the butter on medium and melt it, letting it continue to cook just until it turns the color of caramel. (It should take about 4 minutes, but keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn.) Immediately stir the brown butter into the mashed bananas. (Don't let the brown butter sit in the pan, or it'll burn.)
- Stir the egg and liqueur into the banana mixture, making sure the egg is blended. Then, stir in the brown sugar.
- In a small mixing bowl, use a spoon to mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the white chocolate chips.
- Transfer the batter to your loaf pan and tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes, covering loosely with foil after 45 minutes to prevent over-browning. The bread is done when a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, with just a few crumbs.
- Let the banana bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Transfer it to a serving plate by first placing a dish over the bread and inverting it onto the dish. Then, place your serving plate over the upside down bread and invert again.
- Store, covered with foil, at room temperature for 4-5 days, if it lasts that long. (Or, you could cool the bread completely, wrap it in foil and freeze it in a freezer bag. For best taste, use it within three months, but it won't ever spoil.)
- White whole wheat flour works well here in place of all-purpose flour.
- If you don't have hazelnut liqueur such as Frangelico, try using bourbon or amaretto. If you need to skip the alcohol, try using 1 ½ teaspoons of almond extract instead.
- I've only tested this recipe with white chocolate chips, but you could try milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips as a substitute. You're going to want some sweetness here. Keep in mind, you may lose some of the marshmallow taste the white chocolate brings in combination with the other ingredients.