Baker Bettie

Burnt Sugar Banana Walnut Bread

A loaf of Banana Walnut Bread with Burnt Sugar and Whiskey Frosting and chopped walnuts on top

I like to think that there aren’t many things in life that truly scare me. Heights, spiders, flying, death. I mean, I don’t absolutely love the idea of these things, but they are not subjects of major worry for me.

But if I am being completely honest with you and myself, there is one major thing that scares me: Being wrong. When I really think about it, the fear of being wrong drives most of my anxieties and insecurities.

A slice of Banana Walnut Bread with Burnt Sugar and Whiskey Frosting and chopped walnuts on top

But really, is being wrong so bad? I guess it can be if the fact that I am wrong is never discovered. Ignorance is not always bliss. Because there is always something significant to learn when I discover and accept that I am wrong. It is something to embrace, and I am working on it.

I saw this video recently and it really helped me make sense of this fear. If you have 18 minutes, it is well worth the watch. 

A loaf of Banana Walnut Bread with Burnt Sugar and Whiskey Frosting and chopped walnuts on top

It’s like burning things. If done by accident things usually go too far and it can be completely ruined. But done purposely and just right, burning and charring can enhance the flavor in an insane way.

Like purposely burning sugar. Hello delicious caramelization! It is crazy how much something can transform by being purposely burnt. It adds such an incredible depth of flavor, it is unreal. Banana bread reaches a new level when burnt sugar is added to the experience. Also, burning things is just really fun. I might have a slightly unhealthy obsession with it…

A loaf of Banana Walnut Bread with Burnt Sugar and Whiskey Frosting and chopped walnuts on top

Burnt Sugar Banana Walnut Bread


For the Burnt Sugar Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

For the Banana Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted and divided
  • 1 stick butter, melted (1/2 cup)
  • 2/3 cup burnt sugar syrup

For the Whiskey Frosting

  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • burnt sugar syrup
  • 2 TBSP whiskey or bourbon
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar


For the Syrup

  1. Heat the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Shake the pan back and forth to ensure even caramelization while watching the sugar closely.
  2. Remove from the heat when the sugar becomes a dark amber color and slowly stir in the boiling water. Set aside to cool.

For the Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Oil a loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar for about 10 minutes until very light and fluffy.
  4. Add the mashed banana, melted butter, and 2/3 cup of the burnt sugar syrup to the egg sugar mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just until combined. Fold in 3/4 cup of the walnuts.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake at 350ºF for 60-75 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  7. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting

  1. In a large bowl, beat the sugar until creamy.
  2. Add the remaining burnt sugar syrup, the whiskey and 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Beat until combined.
  3. Add more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
  4. Frost the cooled bread and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0

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19 comments on “Burnt Sugar Banana Walnut Bread”

  1. Yum! I also like the idea of icing!

  2. Oh people on the internet! You sorcerers of nasty words, hiding behind your computers. If I could punch them through the computer screen, I would. Unfortunately they usually remain anonymous (of course). I love what you had to say about fear of being wrong. My current job is really teaching me a lesson or 12 about this. I am learning the art of “Yup, that was me. Totally screwed up!” but I am also noticing that there is still in me the fight each time to want to defend. I have to remind myself that it’s just my ego chiming in but it also comes from this deep need ingrained in me that if I’m wrong then I am no longer loveable. So silly but so real. May we continue to keep growing into the confident mo-fos we know we can be and not have to defend every damn thing we do. I raise my burnt sugar banana bread in honor of you 🙂

    By the way, that pizza looked AMAZING. Suck it to the rude folk 🙂

    • I am realizing this in my new job too Cara. I felt so much more confident in my last job and I feel like a complete idiot at my new job. The weird thing is, is that my last job demanded so much more of me and my intelligence. But I feel out of my element and I over think things too much now that my job is simpler. I feel as though my co-workers think I am incapable. And I realize that this is MY problem. They most likely don’t actually think this. It is my insecurities with being wrong. And if they do think this, it doesn’t mean that they are right about me.

      And Cara, you are so loveable. I love the phrase “confident mo-fos.” By the way, are you mo-foing this year? I’m trying to decide on a theme and if I have enough time to do it.

      • If only we could see how truly GOOD we are and not second guess ourselves. Sounds like we are on similar paths 🙂
        About MoFo I really don’t know if I will have any time for it. However I refuse to not do it because I LOVE it. To be continued…

        • Cara & Kristin, I still don’t have a MoFo theme nailed down yet, either, and I have no idea if I’ll have time to do it, but seriously, let’s do it! It’s always so much fun once you hit your stride…then it goes so fast you can’t believe the month is over. (I’m trying to talk myself into it, can you tell?). XOXO!

  3. Oh, love! I so feel you on being wrong. I notice that whenever I’m told I’m wrong by someone, my ego takes over and I get very defensive, trying like hell to defend my position and my being right. When it comes down to it, I’m really only defending my core belief that “I am capable and intelligent.” I so agree with Cara above, too, on the fear that I am not loveable if I am wrong. I had a conversation a while back with my licensure supervisor and I told her how my boss at the time (someone I had tension with already) came by my office to share that I “looked tired most mornings”, and of course, I could have taken that a number of ways, but I took it to mean, “oh, you think I’m not getting enough sleep and that I’m slacking on the job, etc etc etc”. Guess how I responded? I mean, how my ego responded, “oh, well I get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, so I don’t know what you’re talking about.” In reality, I think the best response would have been, “well I’m not.” Then I would have just shut down my ego and hers and you can’t really argue with that. Whatever, now I’m rambling just to share with you that egos are big things and I think they’re driving forces behind wanting to be right, so trying to find the “beauty” of being wrong… learning lessons, and reminded ourselves that in being wrong, we develop humility, grace, and an openness to alternative ways of doing and thinking. Yeah? Lots of love to you. Here’s to being wrong more! 🙂

    • I agree Jess. The fear is more about what I feel like being wrong means. I worry that it will prove I am not intelligent or capable. Or that it will make other people believe these things about me. And I need to put that aside. The defensiveness is such an easy thing to go to and I was even doing it here in this post when I had to stick it to the man that burnt isn’t always wrong. Something to be aware of and keep working on.

  4. This is such a great post. I never realized it before, but being wrong gives me anxiety, too–especially when it comes to a recipe. My recipes represent me, and when I get negative responses to a recipe, they cause me to question my abilities. What is perfect for one person isn’t necessarily perfect for another, which is what I think people tend to forget. This bread is perfection. I love everything about it.

    • I hear you Jennie! I get so sad and upset when people tell me my recipes didn’t work. I get defensive about it too. Because we work so hard on it and it is hard to know that maybe it isn’t right. A person’s approach in telling me this is always a big factor too. But either way, you can’t please everyone. So I’m working on taking the criticism, trying not to get defensive about it, see if there is something to learn from it, but not let it get me down. All of those things are difficult.

  5. Your interest in burnt food gets the thumbs-up from me! Yum! 🙂

  6. I have a bit of a fear of being wrong too. I loved how wise this post was Kristin, you’re so smart! And burnt things can DEF be amazinggggg. This bread looks so great and the burnt sugar especiallyyy

  7. Yum, yum, yum. And I like my crust and eggs just like you do 😉

  8. Kristin, I couldn’t agree more with you about charred things. This bread looks amazing, and I love a good whisky glaze! And, I’m proud of you for deleting that nasty comment. Our whole culture is absolutely terrified of making mistakes (aka: “being wrong’) to the point that we torture each other with the mere thought of an error, intended or unintended. And, so what? So what if we make a mistake? How can we learn anything new without making mistakes? Making mistakes means you are working hard and getting better. NOT that you actually made one with that b&e pizza, it looked *amazing* to me! I’m speaking philosophically, of course. Our culture has serious issues with mistakes! There is so much fear mongering around mistake making, which then generates anticipatory anxiety about ever maybe making any mistake, ever; then, we are all worried about everything we do wondering if we’ve made a dreaded mistake, which stops us from doing new things or taking risks that could really benefit us. Anyway, we’re not going to do that, right? Right.

    Anyway, damn, that bread looks good (and so did that pizza!).

  9. Made this last night – it came out amazing ! Thanks again!

  10. I’m going to try this recepie but which sugar goes where? Do I use the half cup for the burnt syrup or for the bread?

    • Hi Abdullah! My website went through some updates recently and some of my recipes got unformatted. I have just updated it so it is clear which amount of sugar goes where. Enjoy!

  11. Apologies folks, I did not mean to sound condescending, it wasn’t my intention.  Thank you for the great baking site Bettie.

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