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Saturday, January 12, 2013


Banana Bread in pan
Fresh from the oven - Banana Bread

"Best Ever" An amazing claim but true! This is such a simple, flavorful bread.  This recipe has been in my family for over 100 years! In my recipe box it is labeled  "Best Ever Banana Bread" and it is.  It is best eaten the second day but most loaves don't last that long.  This simple quick bread is a treat both winter and summer. Some simple rules about quick breads: Unlike muffins, quick bread batters need to be beaten to completely fragment the fruit, fat and flour mixture. Use a hand mixer and even though you can mash up the bananas with a fork, avoid the temptation and break out the hand mixture.
Banana Bread: Sugar, egg, fat, vanilla, bananas mixture
Mixture of Banana, Fat, Egg, Sugar

Quick breads are 'dump' breads. What the heck, you say? Dump recipes do not require special treatment or order for ingredients to be added. You start with the wettest, mix them and then dump in the dry.

Measuring using the hollow of your hand
Hollow of my hand with 1 tsp of baking soda
Measuring for quick breads is not an exact process. You can use your hand. I always measure this way for recipes that are somewhat forgiving, candies are the exception to the rule. Candies are exact and any deviation will result in a disaster.  The hollow of your hand is 1 tsp. See the example picture. I like this way for salt and baking soda and powder as they tend to have lumps that will spoil the product. In my hand I can crush all lumps and insure the eater will not find a surprise lump of soda.

 If there are components of a quick bread that need to remain whole, like nuts, stir them in last.  A bit of good news is that grocers place ripe and over ripe bananas on sale, often selling them for a pittance. Usually it is the color of the peal and not the ripeness of the banana that sends them to the sale isle. This  bargain and should be scooped up and turned into the tasty treat.  Banana bread freezes well and I always feel elegant when I know there are a few loaves tucked away in the freezer. Be sure to freeze them is freezer bags when the loaves are cold. 

Ready to go, here's what you need.  Oven at 325 degrees and it will bake for 1hour 15 minutes.
3 over ripe bananas (remove only the bad spots)
1C sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla (the vanilla will point up the banana flavor)
1/4 C fat (I use butter and if you are fat averse you can omit it - the loaf will be just a little chewier)
2 C Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Banana Bread Batter
Finished batter ready for the bread pan

I put the first 5 ingredients in the bowl and beat it until it is a fine mixture. Then dump in the rest and beat into a batter. It will be somewhat lumpy just make sure all the banana is blended.

Banana Bread, First slice
The first slice of Banana Bread
This is a somewhat stiff batter. pour into bread pan and bake.  Your home will now be filled with the fragrance of banana bread, let it cool before you dig in. It's hard to wait but it will be worth it.

Variation: if you want to add something special - add the zest of one orange and nuts are always welcome.
For spreads, Nutella is amazing for the chocolate lover - a little sweet for my taste. I like cream cheese,  it is subtle and compliments the bread.

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