Author in the Kitchen: Wild-West Texas Banana Nut Bread Recipe | Author Jan Moran
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Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.

Author in the Kitchen: Wild-West Texas Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Banana Nut Bread

Pumpkin bread (left), Banana Nut bread (right)

During this season of thanksgiving, as I've paused to give thought and thanks, it occurred to me that in a perfect world it would be great to sit down with my readers and share a slice of my favorite banana nut bread (or pumpkin bread, coming later) and tea, and talk about books and life. Since I can't serve up a warm slice direct from the oven, I thought I'd do the next best thing, which is to share an old family banana nut bread recipe.

My great grandmother, Nannie Brittain, from Jacksonville, Texas, used to make this, presumably in between assisting her husband, the doc, as they tended to gunshot victims on the kitchen table of their grand Victorian home (true stories!). It was the latter part of the 1800s, and Texas was still the fairly wild west. I can just imagine the pair saving lives with the aroma of banana nut bread wafting from the oven. Perhaps that's my next saga…

Anyway, I digress, back to the bread… My mother and grandmother Bebe could recite this recipe by heart. I've found I can adapt it in countless ways for health and variety, so it's a darn good base and has never let me down. It's a gift from my heart to you and yours.

Banana Nut Bread recipe

So, without further ado, here's that wild-west Texas banana nut bread recipe, circa 1880. It's fairly foolproof. Although I appreciate fine food and I've learned to enjoy cooking, I have a history of kitchen disasters (please don't ask about the flaming tortillas, or the AC vent/waterfall incident). However, I love baking, perhaps because it was togetherness time with my grandmother.

Trivia: As an aside, a lot of my novels include food. This recipe is for the bread mentioned in my first contemporary novel, Flawless.

  • 1/2 pound butter (1 cup or 2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sugar (can also reduce by half, or use 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup Splenda – better for diabetics, and not as sweet)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans (or slivered almond, walnuts, macadamia nuts, whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/12 cup mashed bananas (about 3 large or 4 medium, preferably mushy or past their prime)
  • 4 cups flour (I usually mix unbleached and wheat flour, but you can use other types of healthy alternative flours, too)
  • dash of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (I might throw in a teaspoon or so of almond extract, too)
  • Optional: dark or golden raisins are good, too. Throw in a handful, maybe 1/2 to 1 cup.


Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Mix in dry ingredients. Add nuts and bananas last. Pour into 2 prepared (butter or oil with flour, or baking spray) loaf pans and bake at 325 for an hour until done. And that's all there is to it. If I can make this, so can you!

Serves with a side of grapes or fruit and hot tea, or a glass of wine, and you've got a nice afternoon or late-night snack. Warm a slice in the microwave for 10 seconds and top with butter, cream cheese, or jam, and you have another variation. Top with cranberries for a Christmas variation. And these loaves freeze really well, so I usually have a loaf or two of banana nut bread on ice for emergencies–unexpected guests, forgotten parties, sick friends. 

So, if you wonder what I'm snacking on when I'm writing at midnight, this is it 🙂 I've started sharing recipes in my many of my books and in my newsletters, so look for more. 

Bon apetit!


Where to Buy Jan's Books

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Jan’s books are also available to purchase in Deutsch, Dutch, Italiano, Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian. More languages coming soon!

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