Sometimes a simple experiment ends up being a huge success. My little experiment from years ago ended up becoming a favorite in our house, among family and friends, and even the old grandma who used to be my neighbor, who would regularly ask me to make it for her.
I took a really good banana bread recipe (which I found in my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook) and using their suggested Orange Spice variation I added large chunks of apple to it. I experimented with grating the apple (too wet) and large slices pressed into the loaf (looked beautiful, but the dough against the slices would not bake). In the end, large chunks won.
2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted then cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp orange zest
1 1/4 c walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 of an apple that is good for baking, such as Jazz, Pink Lady, or Granny Smith, diced into 1-1.25″ pieces, skin intact
Adjust oven rack to the lower middle position and heat to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X5″ loaf pan. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the bananas, eggs, yogurt, butter, orange zest, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Gently fold banana mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula and until just combined. Fold in apples and nuts.
Scrape batter into the loaf pan. Press any apple pieces into the batter if they are at the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached, approximately 55 minutes.
Let the loaf cool for 10 minutes, then unmold and allow to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Serve warm, with a little powdered sugar sprinkled over it.