Tag: award winner

Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner: MN Blackout Cake

The Kowalski’s Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair was this phenomenal “MN Blackout Cake.”

With its three layers, pudding filling, chocolate drip, and decoration, this cake is a chocolate lover’s dream come true. It’s intense color and flavor are going to wow you, just like it did us and the judges.

Replicating it as we did, takes time, but every bite makes it worth the effort.

Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner MN Blackout Cake

Kudos to Michelle Seywerd who was the Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair with this inspired creation.

Michelle’s husband loves Guinness chocolate cake which was her first idea of what to enter. Then she recalled the notorious Brooklyn Blackout Cake. Michelle’s winning recipe is a twist on it. She used this recipe as her base and then adapted a Food Network pudding filling. She added the fun chocolate shards on top too. We were shocked to learn Michelle had barely baked a cookie before the pandemic but really got into it with her daughter, who was a toddler at the time. They started with basic baked goods, watched a lot of YouTube channels, and worked up to more challenging recipes. “It’s been quite a journey,” Michelle shared.

Decadently Dark Cake

In her own words, Michelle describes her MN Blackout Cake here:

A decadently dark cake perfect for the dark chocolate lover in your life! I created a twist on the classic Brooklyn Blackout Cake by featuring black cocoa. Black cocoa is used to give Oreos that distinct color and flavor. Here, I’ve featured chocolate in 4 ways –  layers of moist cocoa cake, filled with black cocoa pudding filling, dripping with a semi sweet chocolate ganache, and topped with intense dark chocolate shards. The result – the boldest and richest chocolate flavor possible without use of food coloring. Enjoy with a nice glass of cold milk! Thank you!

Baking Tips: Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner

Some random tips we got from Michelle and learned along the way, are these:

  • You’ll want to double the cake portion of the recipe if you want to recreate Michelle’s 3-layer version she won with at the fair. You’ll have an extra single layer that works great to taste and decorate separately. We did crushed salted peanuts on ours (4th unused layer) and loved it. You could also go for a 4 layer cake, but that’s mighty big.
  • If you opt to not double the cake and don’t want extra of the pudding filling, you’ll want to cut that recipe portion in half or do 2/3. The thick filling layer makes this cake a show stopper in our opinion. I would eat that pudding filling as a solo dessert. It’s that good.
  • We got our black cocoa from King Arthur and loved the results. Get yours here.
  • Using black cocoa over the buttered parchment helps the cake keep its intense color.

  • With chocolate drip, if you’re starting with a chocolate bar (versus chocolate chips), chop it into small pieces until they’re about the size of chocolate chips. You’ll get a smoother, more efficient melt.
  • If you can’t find 90% cacao chocolate, use 100% (2 ounces) and semi-sweet chocolate (1 ounce) as a substitute.
  • When we did the chocolate drip, we started with the edge. We worked by the spoonful for more control and to get the drizzle/drip look we wanted.
  • Michelle says this cake is not a fast one to make, but the payoff is totally worth it.

We invite you to re-create the magic of this MN Blackout Cake. Be sure to share on social media and tag @blueribbonfoodies. We want to see what you’re baking!

Enjoy!

-Cyndi

 

1st Place Creative Cookie at Minnesota State Fair

These Crispy Creamy Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies are a 2022 blue ribbon winner, a 1st Place creative cookie at the Minnesota State Fair.

Betsy Faber created these for one of the new 2022 special contests. She won $100 and lots of accolades. They are exceedingly delicious. The cookies themselves are candy-like and the filling is magical. They are said to blur the line between candy and cookie.

Recreate these award-winning cookies today! Be sure to follow the recipe because Betsy gives lots of tips and tricks. Using no oil peanut butter is key, as well as not overheating the “dough” part.

You are going to want to make these time and time again!

Enjoy!

-Cyndi

 

Prize-Winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

These homemade, aromatic, prize-winning parmesan & chive scones are simply the best savory scones, in more ways than one.

You will relish their phenomenal taste and tender yet firm texture. Their golden brown appearance is drool-worthy for sure. If you love savory scones like we do, be sure to bake these soon! They are perfect for weekend brunches and snacks in between meals.

Prize-winning parmesan & chive scones

This remarkable recipe comes from Amy Ellenberger.

Blue Ribbon Baker - Best Scone Winner 2021 MN State Fair

Amy won “Best Scones” at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair with this recipe. One taste and you’ll know why this one is a winner.

We asked Amy what her secret to winning was. In her words: “Because scones are a fairly simple baked good (as in few ingredients), it is important to use the best quality ingredients, as there isn’t much to hide behind. For this recipe I like to use (Minnesota-based) Hope Creamery butter, a sour cream (like Daisy) that doesn’t contain thickeners and other artificial ingredients, garden fresh chives, and high-quality Parmesan cheese that is freshly grated.”

Step by Step Tutorial

Take Amy’s top tip and begin with the best ingredients.

Parmesan Chive Scones

You start by mixing the dry ingredients with the cheese and chives.

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

Next, you cut in the cold butter. By the way, Amy’s family buys Hope Creamery butter by the case.

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

At this stage you want to see the chilled butter in tiny clumps, roughly the size of peas.

Butte Cut in Stage - Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

You also use both sour cream and buttermilk in the recipe, plus an egg.

Prize-Winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

Mix the sour cream, buttermilk and egg smooth, then combine that mixture with your flour mixture.

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

Once everything is together, you want a shaggy look to the dough.

Be careful not to overwork the dough. Shape it into a flat circle. You want it 1 ½ inches thick.

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

Then cut out the scones. You should get 12 (2-inch size) rounds (or squares if you prefer that shape).

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

As your final step, you brush each with heavy cream, then sprinkle with parmesan, a pinch of sea salt, and fresh cracked black pepper. You also want to chill them 30 minutes at this stage.

From Amy: Don’t skip the chilling step. This ensures the butter is solid and won’t leak out of your scones during baking.

Prize-Winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

After the chill time, the only thing to do is wait for them to bake (at 350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 25-30 minutes.

Prize-Winning Parmesan & Chive Scones: every bite will be pure delight. Seriously. Hit the kitchen and bake these now!

-Cyndi

p.s. Scones are best eaten shortly after they are baked. However, you can opt to freeze the dough to fresh bake the scones later (ideally within 2 months). Or you can freeze them after baking. Just pop a frozen one in the microwave for about 30 seconds before you nosh.

 

Blue Ribbon Triple Berry Pie

This Blue Ribbon Triple Berry Pie features a flaky butter crust and first-rate filling of blueberries, raspberries and cranberries. The combination makes for a delicious taste that’s perfectly sweet, but not overly so. Cinnamon and nutmeg give the pie tasty nuances as well.

MN State Fair Blue Ribbon Triple Berry Pie

This award-winning recipe comes from Tim Scott, a long-time lover of pies and baking-at-home. He entered his first Minnesota State Fair baking competition in 2016. His pie won best multi-berry pie out of 60 pies. He also placed 2nd and 5th with two other pies, making 2021 his best year yet. His first ribbon was in 2017, a 3rd place for a peach pie.

Cranberries for the Win?!

Given many multi-berry pies have blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, the cranberries are what helped Tim’s pie stand out. The proportions he used translated to a fantastic flavor. The tartness from the cranberries paired perfectly with the sweetness of the blueberries and raspberries. Tim shared that using the very best seasonal fruit from local growers is key. Ripeness plays a factor as well.

Tim shared that another secret to winning is being organized, enough so that the timing of baking multiple pies works out and every aspect get the attention and time it deserves. Tim’s strategy is to always make 2 pies per competition entry. He picks the more perfect one to enter. The other often goes to (very happy) neighbors.

Attention to Detail

Fun fact: Tim uses butter for all his Minnesota State Fair Pie entries, but lard for something like the Braham Pie Day Contest.

His advice to aspiring pie bakers trying his recipe: “Cranberries have a lot of pectin, so how much thickening agent you use is tricky,” Tim shared. “Pay close attention to how much liquid is in the berries after simmering to get the right consistency.”

As far as advice to first time baking contestants: practice by entering other baking contests for experience. Also, have tasters who know what good pie is (or great cake or cookie, etc.) and will give you honest feedback.

Great tips! Now give Tim’s Blue Ribbon Triple Berry Pie recipe a try! If you don’t bake, find a friend who does and request they make this! Pie lover alert: be sure to also check out our other award-winning pies on our site, like this other 2021 apple pie winner.

-Cyndi

 

Blue Ribbon Beer Bread

Say hello to this award winning Blue Ribbon Beer Bread. The recipe features the pilsner Wonderstuff, from Bauhaus Brew Labs in Minneapolis, along with cheddar cheese, rosemary, and honey. A thick slice of this bread solo or with a swipe of butter is pure bliss. It’s tender but hearty, and has a beautiful golden brown exterior.

The recipe comes from Cortney Carlson who won “best beer bread” with it at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair.

Cortney Carlson

This was her first blue ribbon win ever! In fact, she had only competed one other time, in 2019 for a special sugar cookie competition. Cortney shared, “Nothing came of the submission, but it ignited my interest in competing.”

Her recipe is easy to follow and replicate. It also great starting point for variations. After tasting and loving Cortney’s Blue Ribbon Beer Bread, we tried a cheddar, chive, and jalapeño version. It was really good also.

Winner Q&A

We caught up with Cortney for a Q&A recently. Read on to learn about her backstory.

BRG: What can you tell us about your Blue Ribbon Beer Bread recipe and why you chose it?

Cortney: While you’d think most people just KNOW they are submitting their (insert favorite recipe here… sugar cookies, sourdough, etc.), I actually stumbled across mine. When the categories for baking categories were released, I scanned the list for something to jump out at me. I like to try new recipes, new areas of baking, new techniques… so I didn’t go into this with a plan or recipe.

Immediately beer bread jumped out at me. My experience with bread was virtually nonexistent, but all the breweries around town, especially coming from Northeast Minneapolis? Not so much a mystery to me (hehehe).

Knowing little about bread, I looked at dozens of different recipes. I looked for types of beer bread, what types of things people added to them, and then just dove in. I liked the idea of adding an herb…I tried different cheeses, different styles of beers, and went back to the drawing board the more I tried things (that’s a MN nice way of saying the first attempts were gross). Once I started researching the right things, things started clicking and here we are. I landed on the attached final recipe.

BRG: What do you think your secret to winning was?

Cortney: The only thing larger than the amount of foods on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair is the Minnesota pride that you can feel in the air the entire twelve days of the fair. My recipe included ingredients made or headquartered in Minnesota. From local beer, honey, and cheese, to Pillsbury flour and rosemary grown at home… every part of that bread was a nod to people (myself) who say “ope” several times a day.

BRG: What is the worst disaster you’ve had in the kitchen and how did you deal with it?

Cortney: I’ve experienced the most average disasters – burning things, undercooking things, messing up a recipe, missing key ingredients, etc. The thing I’ve learned about kitchen disasters is that while it’s so disappointing and frustrating that day, the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the kitchen have come from the time I did it wrong.

BRG: What advice would you give young people wanting to cook/bake more?

Cortney:  Learn your staple dinners/desserts/contributions to potlucks, but don’t stay there. Try new areas of cooking. You like pie but have never made one? Try it. And know that you may not knock it out of the park the first try, but the more you try the more you will learn and can apply to the next recipe.

Great advice Cortney! Now everyone, get ready, set, and bake this bread!

-Cyndi

p.s. If you’re into breads, be sure to bake this blueberry winning recipe and this whole wheat winner.

State Fair Apple Raspberry Pie

This State Fair Apple Raspberry Pie is a show stopper. It won both “best creative apple pie” and “best overall pie” at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair. Carol Marsh is the star state fair baker here. Her pie is beautifully designed and absolutely delicious. The filling tastes fantastic and has a firm yet tender texture. Fresh raspberries add a splash of color. Their sweetness pairs perfectly with tart apples.

State Fair Apple Pie

Carol has been competing at the Minnesota State Fair since 2010 and baking since she a child. This year, 2021, was a big year, with her winning four blue ribbons. They were for a 2-layer chocolate cake, a raisin bread, a classic apple pie, and this creative apple pie, which won best overall pie also. This makes her a 6 time pie sweepstakes winner (best overall pie 6x since 2010). That brings her total to 36 Minnesota State Fair ribbons for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place wins.

Carol, like a lot of us, finds much joy in baking. She knows the ideal texture of pie dough and how to have a thick filling. As a result, she finds baking pies a breeze. She has it down to a science.

State Fair Apple Pie Baker

Carol has won multiple times at the Minnesota State Fair with this recipe and slight variations on it. Carol recently baked her pie for me and we brought you along to experience the journey of making a perfect pie. Seeing her in action was so much fun!

Carol’s Pie Baking Tips – Step by Step

Chill your bowl and all your pie crust dough ingredients (dry, wet and shortening).

Dough mixture (with chilled shortening already cut in) should resemble cornmeal.Cornmeal Looking Stage

Carol strains her egg/vinegar mixture into the crust’s dry ingredients.

Allow enough time to also chill the dough, for at least an hour. Check out the beautiful texture Carol gets. State Fair Apple Pie dough

For the filling, Carol prefers using a combo of Granny Smith, Braeburn, and Pink Lady apples.

Layer the apples, butter, and raspberries. You’ll get a colorful look that doesn’t “bleed” much or look messy.Layering State Fair Apple Pie

Let your artistic side out by cutting and etching the leaves for the top crust like Carol did.Pie Crust Leaves

Layer and distribute the leaves evenly, so the top crust will bake uniformly.Leaf decoration on State Fair Apple Pie

Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar for some beautiful browning and sparkle.

The pie will be heaping with apples. While baking, the apples shrink, resulting in a full, lush-looking pie.Baked State Fair Apple Pie

The pie cuts beautifully and has a firm yet tender filling.State Fair Apple Pie

This State Fair Apple Raspberry Pie is a classic. Put it on your holiday baking list. And if you want another 2021 Minnesota State Fair winning pie, check out this blue ribbon winner also.

Enjoy!

-Cyndi

 

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

These Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies won best sandwich cookie and best overall cookie at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair. Their creamy filling, phenomenal flavor, and utter deliciousness will wow you with every bite.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

A Winning History

Joan Kinsley

Joan Kinsley was the winning Minnesota State Fair baker. She adapted a Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest winning recipe that Annette Gustafson won with in 2020. Joan first entered the state fair baking competition in 2014, had a win, and was hooked on the annual tradition.

Joan’s version is a linzer look-alike with an opening on top so you see the inside filling inside, which is thick, creamy, rich, and absolutely divine.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

We invite you to make them for the holidays and check out our step-by-step tips for reproducing these blue-ribbon-winning Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies. Did I mention that outstanding filling? =)

Special thanks to Joan fore re-baking her cookies for me. Same to the our friends at the Star Tribune for their recipe use permission and to Annette. We look forward to learning what more about this year’s Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest winners!

Secrets to Success

Joan estimates she made these cookies 5-6 times before entry drop-off at the fair. She spent hours tweaking ingredients and altering the thickness of the dough and the filling. She also adjusted baking times, temperature, and what kitchen tools she used. This seems to be a popular process among successful state fair blue ribbon baker, especially with recipes they’re new to. It pays off.

  • To achieve the “perfect bake” Joan keeps the dough chilled throughout the entire prep process: before rolling it out, afterward with the scraps she re-works, and even while the cut dough waits its turn in the oven.
  • Hint: Handle the dough as little as possible. It’s much easier to transfer and work with when chilled.
  • Joan prefers baking them on parchment that sits on a silpat baking mat with an air bake pan underneath.
  • You can opt to cut out the cookies an inch apart, directly on the parchment you’ll bake them on. This way the shapes stay fully intact because you’re not touching or moving them.
  • Joan uses an adjustable rolling pin (for an exact thickness) and a Linzer tart cookie cutter.
  • Joan also bakes her cookies 1 sheet at a time.

Step by Step

You make the cookies with flour, cinnamon, salt, butter, and brown sugar. Set out your butter ahead of time as you want it room temperature. Also, allow enough time to chill the dough at least 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

When mixing the dough, it’s ready when the ingredients are just fully combined and clumps start to form. Like with pie dough, avoid over-mixing.

Prepped Dough

Pressing the dough out before chilling makes for an easier roll out. And seal it in plastic wrap. Ultimately you end up rolling it out between parchment layers.

Dough pressed out

Joan uses an adjustable rolling pin with rings to make the dough exactly 1/6th inch thick.

With the first portion of dough, you cut the cookie “bottoms.”

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

With the second portion of dough, you cut the cookie “tops” with the center cut out.

Wilton Linzer Cookie Cutter

Tip: cut out, then chill the unbaked cookies again and they will be easy to move with an offset spatula. Bake them an inch or more apart. Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

You sprinkle all with a cinnamon/sugar mixture before baking, giving them some glitter and glam.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

Then, simply keep a close eye on the oven. You want the bottoms to barely start to brown, which takes 12-14 minutes.

The filling features Biscoff cookie butter (available at most grocery stores in the peanut butter section), along with butter, and powdered sugar. I could eat this stuff by the spoonful.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

Joan pipes hers on before spreading it even with an offset metal spatula.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

All these tips and tricks were the secrets to her baking success.

The last thing you need to do is enjoy these better-than-anything blue ribbon cookies.

Happy baking!

-Cyndi

 

Coconut Curry Mango Cake

At the 2021 Minnesota State Fair baking competition, no one could have predicted how tasty this Coconut Curry Mango Cake was going to be, including me. With surprising ingredients and a colorful exterior, the cake stood out for its perfectly balanced flavors, rich taste, and tender yet firm texture.

Recipe credit goes to Maggie MacIntosh. She used a Cooks Illustrated coconut cake recipe as a starting point and began experimenting.

Creative Cake

Garam masala, turmeric, mango nectar, and mango crystals are among the unique ingredients Maggie features in this award winning cake. Between that creativity, how well she combined all the ingredient amounts, and how perfectly she baked the cakes, this Coconut Curry Mango Cake really stood out. Plus Maggie nailed it with the coconut aroma, in both the cake itself and the frosting. The mango filling was a colorful element that added yet another dimension to the cake. Well done!

Maggie won 1st place in our Blue Ribbon Best Coconut Cake Contest with this cake. She wins $100 in King Arthur Baking Company gift cards. Here’s a shot of Maggie and her daughter, celebrating her win and all the fun the fair has to offer. Congratulations Maggie!

Judging Criteria

If you’re curious about the winner selection process, here’s the judging criteria.

  1. Unique, innovative, creative recipe……………………………………………25%
  2. Appearance, color, presentation………………………………………………..25%
  3. Texture, internal appearance…………………………………………………….25%
  4. Flavor, aroma…………………………………………………………………………. 25%

Coconut Curry Mango Cake – Step by Step

Want to re-create the magic of Maggie’s coconut curry cake and its mango filling? We walk you through it with a detailed overview, including photos.

Here’s everything that goes into the batter, from the cake flour and spices, to butter, sugar, and eggs.

Batter ingredients

You starting with whipping the egg and egg whites before adding cream of coconut, water, and extracts.

Coconut Curry Mango Cake Egg Whites

Next, you mix the dry ingredients: cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, garam masala, and turmeric.

Batter mixing stage 2

Then you mix in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Batter mixing stage 3

Once you slowly combine everything together…Batter mixing…you divide the batter between your prepped 8-inch pans. It makes a nice thick batter. Spread it around.

Batter in pans

While those bake and cool, get your filling ingredients together. Whip that up.

Coconut Curry Mango CakeDo the same with your buttercream frosting.

Coconut Curry Mango Cake

Whip it good. It should form stiff peaks. Here’s a shot when it’s reaching perfection.

Buttercream Frosting Stage 2

Last, you slice each cake in half to get 4 equal layers, then assemble everything together. A great tip from Maggie was to pipe the frosting on the edge of each layer to help hold in the filling.

Filling layer

We didn’t get shots of this, but applying a crumb coat–thinly frosting top and sides of cake before fully frosting the cake–prevents a messy look.

Finishing Touches

To finish, sprinkle toasted coconut on top and press into sides of cake. This will give the cake a classic look, like this.

Or you can opt to dye the toasted coconut in one or more colors and decorate in circular patterns on top (as winner did).

These resemble the colors Maggie used: yellow, orange, and red.

Dyed Coconut flakes

And this is her stencil she used decorating the top of her cake.

Feel free to reach out to us direct if you want help re-creating the multi-color decor Maggie used. We have additional notes from our test runs and Maggie we can share.

If you love this cake’s concept but want a faster, easier version of the recipe, stay tuned. We are working on a sheet cake version of this magical Coconut Curry Mango Cake we will share later.

In the meantime though, this cake makes a fun fall baking experience. Fun fact: some of our tasters thought the curry/turmeric combo was a tastier, gingery pumpkin spice. Give it a try and see what you taste.

Enjoy!

-Cyndi

 

Citrus Swirl Cookies

These colorful and fragrant Citrus Swirl Cookies taste as great as they look. They’re buttery and tender, yet firm, and so flavorful too. Their scent is illuminating. They are an epic icebox cookie. They are the bomb. That’s our take and we’re sticking to it. And seriously, just wait until you catch their lovely aroma!

Citrus Swirl Cookie Recipe - Close Up

Recipe credit goes to Karen Cope, a long-time blue ribbon winning baker at the Minnesota State Fair, which is where she won “best cookie” with this recipe in 2016.

Creator, Citrus Swirl Cookie Recipe

The kaleidoscope-like look of these Citrus Swirl Cookies is eye-catching. The technique of twisting colorful dough together may remind you of tie dye clothing. That method makes the recipe more involved than your average cookie, but it’s worth  the effort. And once you have that part down though, you’re golden. Bake like a blue ribbon winner and make these!

Citrus Swirl Cookie Recipe - Stack

Secret Ingredient?

Ask any blue ribbon baker their tips for baking winning entries in competitions and most often you’ll hear “great ingredients.” That applies to this winning cookie as well. Karen speculates that using Fiori Di Sicilia made her cookie stand out for its distinct and delicious aroma. Fiori Di Sicilia (flower of Sicily) is a combo of vanilla and citrus. Our friends at King Arthur Baking Company sell a delightful version, plus they give great tips about using and storing it here.

Baking Tips

Some helpful points about Karen’s recipe:

  • If using Fiori di Sicilia is not an option for you, Karen suggests replacing it with a teaspoon of vanilla and a half teaspoon each of lemon and orange extracts
  • This recipe makes about 6 dozen cookies. If you don’t want to bake them right away or all at once, freeze the dough or portions of it (prior to slicing).
  • If you freeze any portion, simply thaw in the refrigerator the night before you what to bake them.
  • Be careful not to overbake these cookies. You want them tender and not dry.

By the way, we had a fun time brainstorming alternative names for this cookie, just for fun. A couple favorites were: Karen Cope’s Kaleidoscope Cookies and Tie-Dye-For Sweet Treats. Ultimately we stayed with the original/best title.

Enjoy-

Cyndi

p.s. If you’re into cookies that are awesome and artistic (aka “require a bit more work”), be sure to also try the copycat Girl Scout cookies we previously shared.

 

Best Banana Bread Recipe

There’s a reason this Best Banana Bread Recipe is an award winner. It makes the best homemade banana bread ever!

Best Banana Bread Recipe - Sliced

Everyone I know loves a thick slice of this classic quick bread, as in quick to make, no yeast needed.

This recipe makes a tender, flavorful, and aromatic bread. I love mine, slightly warm, with a smear of peanut butter.

Recipe credit goes to Marge Knight who placed second at the Erie County Fair by Buffalo, New York (Aug 11-22, 2021). Marge ‘s recipe was from a Clabber Girl Baking Contest we ran in 2001.  Yes, we went deep into our archives for this one! It’s such a classic!

Homemade Banana Bread - Cut

Classic Bread, Staple Ingredients

The key to success and baking the best banana bread is simple. It’s ripe bananas. Maybe even a bit over-ripe. I like to use ones where the skin has turned brown in spots and the banana scent is strongest. Here’s what you need in total for this recipe. No surprises.

  • bananas (of course =)
  • sugar
  • butter
  • eggs
  • water
  • flour
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • salt

Make sure your baking soda and powder are fresh enough to do the heavy lifting in this recipe.

Banana Bread Loaves-Glass & Metal Pans

Metal or Glass?

The above shot shows two loaves I recently baked: one in a metal pan, the other in glass. I like the look of the bread baked in a rectangle pan. The squared off edges make for a nice appearance, however, I prefer the glass pan for how evenly the bread bakes. Look at how evenly and perfect it bakes all the way through.

Best Banana Bread - Slice - Close-up

This best banana bread recipe is one you can go to time and time again. It’s also a good launching point for adding mix-ins. Chocolate chips are always a big hit. Coconut might be my favorite addition. I know some people are coconut averse, but it’s a go-to ingredient for me.

Nuts can get a mixed response with my family, but they do give a nice texture contrast. And a lot of people like them: walnuts, pecans etc.  I also like blueberries added to banana bread for pops of sweetness. We’ll also share a blue ribbon winning recipe for that version coming up, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, hit the kitchen and bake this best banana bread recipe. We also featured this banana bread with Greek yoghurt in it and banana pudding mix. You’ll love that one too. Both are so moist and yummy. Homemade, baked-from-scratch banana bread is the best! Enjoy!

-Cyndi