There's nothing like baking on a cold, stormy day. And banana bread is especially great because it's so crazy quick to throw together, gets rid of some over-ripe bananas along the way (usually some I've thrown in the fridge or freezer that look nasty and brown, but are perfect for this recipe), and it makes the whole house smell amazing.
|Batter ready to go into the oven!|
So here's the recipe. This is one my mom culled from her Cuisinart class at the Y (seriously. How awesome is that?), but originally the recipe is from "New Naturals" by Honey Lesser in "Bon Appetit". Needless to say, I do this all in my Cuisinart since that's how I learned it from my mom, but you could just as easily use an electric hand-held or stand mixer.
2 very ripe medium bananas, peeled, cut in 1-in. pieces
1/2 cup butter or margarine, chilled, cut in 6 pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (some or all whole wheat flour OK)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnut or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Into large bowl (or Cuisinart with knife blade), add bananas and butter/margarine. Process until finely chopped (~20 seconds in Cuisinart). Add remaining ingredients - dry first, then eggs, milk, and lemon juice/vinegar. Process (~10 seconds in Cuisinart).
Add nuts, if desired, and process 2-3 seconds longer. Do not overprocess: this will make bread coarse. Turn batter into greased 9x5-in loaf pan. Bake until bread springs back when touched lightly in center, about 55-60 minutes. Cool before removing from pan.
Makes 1 (9x5-in) loaf
*Note: doubling the recipe makes 3 loaves of 8x4-in foil pans. Bake ~45 mins.
|Step 1: bananas and butter|
A little side note - did you know that the flap on the inside of the lid of the baking soda box is to scrape the powder flat in the measuring spoon? I thought that was an amazing trick as a kid (and I love that they've kept it).
|That handy baking soda flap!|
You may also have noticed that my mom mentions whole wheat flour in the ingredients (yes, I've included her notes in the recipe). I've had it that way, and while it's not quite as moist, it is still very tasty, and you might feel a little better about eating a whole loaf of it!
|Activating the baking soda = bubbles!|
This loaf is not as tall as normal bread, and I like it that way. I think it helps it stay moist and evenly baked. You could try more batter in a smaller loaf pan and see what it does if you really wanted it taller, but I can't speak to how long to bake it for that.
I take the "cool before removing from pan" pretty liberally. Once it's cooled enough that I can touch the pan and don't worry that the bread will lose its shape, I pop it out of the pan and onto a cooling rack. Well, usually onto a cutting board to try a piece and make sure it's tasty, of course!, and then onto the cooling rack. Like I said, it's great warm. And you can recreate that by putting it onto a griddle or in the toaster. I prefer it on the griddle with a thin layer of butter side-down, but that's just me. Hey, no one said this was good for you!
|Yum! Love the break in the middle too|
Now I'm sure it took you longer to read this than to make the bread! It takes me all of maybe 10 minutes to throw the batter together and get it into the oven. And even though it brightens the stormiest of days, it's certainly just as tasty on a warm and sunny one!