Food & Recipes

Royal Chef Shares the Indulgent Ingredient He Uses for Queen Elizabeth’s Favorite Banana Bread

We might not be a member of the royal family, but that doesn’t mean we can’t eat like one! According to one of Queen Elizabeth’s former chefs, it’s as easy as whipping up a tasty loaf of banana bread — with a slightly indulgent twist on one of the ingredients.

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Instead of using regular vanilla extract, chef Darren McGrady recommends shelling out a few extra bucks for Nielson-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste (Buy on Amazon, $19.99). He describes the flavor as “absolutely gorgeous.” There are also slightly cheaper options, like Vanilla Bean King’s Gourmet Vanilla Bean Paste (Buy on Amazon, $14.99), which provide equally royal-worthy richness. You can swap it out in pretty much any recipe that calls for vanilla extract by using the exact same amount of paste instead.

McGrady adds raisins, dried cherries, and nuts to his recipe, as well. Aside from being tasty, he claims the fruit helps to prevent the loaf from drying out. “I can’t tell you how many times this recipe got me out of trouble at Buckingham Palace,” he joked. “Because the fruit keeps the bread moist in the refrigerator for several weeks, there are always two or three loaves in there. If a member of the royal family turned up then, oh, the good old banana bread. A lifesaver!” 

The chef says the loaf stays “fresh and moist and perfect” for up to three months when wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge. Take a look at the video for more tips on how to pick the level of banana ripeness, how to keep it from sticking to your pan, and some silly hijinx with his stuffed animal corgi: 

We can add this to the growing list of royal culinary discoveries McGrady has shared with us recently — like Princess Diana’s favorite healthy dish, Queen Elizabeth’s birthday cake, and Prince Charles’ love of organic ingredients plucked from own his backyard! In fact, you could add them altogether for a full day of royal recipes. Yum!

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