Good Cooking: Banana Bread

For whatever reason, lately we’ve had an influx of over-ripe bananas at our house. For us, this is a happy problem because we all LOVE banana bread—and there is no better banana than an over-ripe banana if you’re going to make banana bread.

I’ve tried many banana bread recipes throughout the years—and there are a lot of variations out there! We’ve enjoyed loaves with chocolate, loaves with nuts, loaves with cranberries, blueberries, ginger—even loaves made with coffee. Most of them have been delicious—and a few of them have been made more than once in my kitchen. However, I always seem to return to my old stand-by recipe: my mom’s.

I’m not sure if it’s because this is the banana bread I grew up eating, but it’s the recipe I hold all others up to…and I’ve yet to find one that tops it (I think the secret ingredient is the nutmeg.) This is a simple, no-frills, familiar recipe. There are no nuts, no berries, no extra bells and whistles. It’s just good. Plain and simple: good. And now it’s yours!

Banana Bread

I should point out that my mom’s original recipe calls for shortening rather than butter. I don’t generally use shortening in my kitchen, and I’ve reflected that change in the recipe below. There can be, however, certain aesthetic benefits to using shortening in your baking…so if you’re a shortening devotee, by all means, use it here! (Sub ½ cup of shortening for ½ cup of butter.)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, well beaten

2-3 mashed (over)ripe bananas, mashed a bit

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 350º, grease an 8×4 loaf pan, and set aside. In a large mixer bowl (I use a hand mixer), beat together the butter and sugar until the sugar is well-incorporated and the mixture is fluffy. Add your eggs and bananas, and mix until evenly combined. In a small bowl, sift or whisk together the remaining ingredients, then add to the banana mixture and fold everything together by hand. Stir gently, scraping the bottom of the bowl, until all of the flour is just-combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and place immediately into the preheated oven. Bake the bread at 350º for 1 hour and 10 minutes. When a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the bread, remove the loaf to a cooling rack. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and continue cooling on the rack for as long as you can hold out.


Posted by Shannon, a Dot-arilla Blogger