Best Banana Bread
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (kosher or coarse)
8 tbs unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 bananas (very ripe, peeled and mashed, about 1 cup)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or heavy whipping cream or sour cream)
Optional: grated orange zest or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Optional: 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Set the flour mixture aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat them until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Blend in the mashed bananas and buttermilk along with the orange zest or cinnamon, if using.
Using a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture to the banana mixture in batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated. At the end the batter should be barely blended (it will be thick).
Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, if desired.
Bake the banana bread until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean, about 45 min. Let the banana bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 min, then turn the loaf out of the pan and let it finish cooling upright on the wire rack. Serves 12