Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Banana Nut Bread

What do you do with bananas when they are about to go south?  I hope you don't throw them out because that is when they are perfect to use in baked goods!  Ooey gooey bananas are the best for baking banana nut bread or banana muffins.  I also have a fabulous recipe for banana nut bars that are  great to eat as a snack, dessert or even for breakfast.  I used to bake them for my daughter when she was in college because she loved them.  I am sure it was nice to get a little care package from home containing goodies made with love.

My first remembrance of eating banana nut bread was at our neighbor's Christmas party when I was about 6 or 7.   Banana nut bread with cream cheese spread on it will forever be associated with Christmas for me and the fact that it was totally delicious.  My mom had never made banana nut bread. Thanks Dorothy and Eva for that lovely memory.

Last week we had our first real cool down after a long hot summer.  What was the first thing I baked?  You guessed it - banana nut bread.  There were three bananas on the counter that were heading for extinction if something wasn't done with them quickly, so I got out all the ingredients and went to work.

I have been making this recipe since the 1960's.  Could not tell you where it came from if my life depended on it.  It is in my handwritten recipe book and the page is smudged and smeared from years of use.  You think I would know it by heart, but I don't.  I have to look it up every time I make it just to be sure I use all the proper proportions.  That is extremely important in baking or you may end up with a banana hockey puck instead of bread.

If you can stand to let the bread sit for a day or two before eating it (it is a major challenge), banana breads are something that get better with a few days "ripening" (no pun intended).  The flavors meld together and the texture gets nice and dense and flavorful.  There is nothing like cutting that first slice, spreading on some cream cheese and enjoying it with a lovely cup of fresh, hot coffee.  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.

Here is what you need to make one large or two small loaves of banana bread.

1 stick butter
3 large bananas
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup nuts, chopped (I use pecans)
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Mash the bananas and add the vanilla to them.  Beat the eggs with a fork until foamy and add to the mashed bananas.  Add the banana mixture to the creamed butter and sugar.  Mix well.

Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the wet mixture.  Grease and flour your loaf pan.  Add the  mixture to the loaf pan.  Tap the bottom of the pan on the counter several times to remove any air bubbles.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes - until a tooth pick placed in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let cool before removing the bread from the pan.

Now the real challenge.  Try to let the bread sit for several days before eating.  If you can't wait, slice and enjoy!

I have given this bread and my pumpkin bread (recipe on the blog) as Christmas gifts for years and years.  Everyone looks forward to receiving them.  One year I didn't make them and there was disappointment all around, so I have continued the tradition.  They do make nice treats at holiday time and gifts made with love are so appreciated.

Just remember, DON'T THROW THOSE BROWN BANANAS AWAY!!!  EVER!!!  You will be missing out on a fantastically delicious treat!

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

“when life gives you bananas you can't make juice ” ― Yang Mushu, aka Isabel Truax

So I say, make banana bread instead!  donna

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