Monday, October 21, 2013

DIY: The Very Best Banana Bread Recipe

There’s just something about fall that makes me want to bake cookies and stuff.

I don’t even know why I wrote that.  I am terrible at baking cookies.  Give me a cake or a pie and I’m on it.  Cookies make me sad.  So many failed attempts.

Anyway, there’s also just something about the fall that makes me not want to eat bananas.  Maybe it’s because I feel less like eating healthy in the fall – putting on the winter layer and all that.  YES.  That’s totally a thing.  Maybe it’s because I’ve eaten bananas all summer and I’m not really feeling them anymore.  Maybe it’s because bananas are sort of a tropical fruit, and I don’t feel so tropical when it’s forty and drizzling outside.  Or maybe it’s because I’m not a gorilla.

So on any given day we have all these bananas that I buy at the store and two days later I haven’t eaten them and it’s way too much to ask anyone in my home to eat something that they might have to work a little for, like peeling a banana is sooooo hard you guys, and the bananas are already over-ripe and I need to do something with them because it is a sin to waste good food.  There are starving children in China, you know.  And just down the road, too.  Ahem.

So guess what I do with these bananas, in the fall?  You got it: I transform them into The Very Best Banana Bread.  I’ve done it twice already this week.  You’d think I’d learn to stop buying bananas.

But I haven’t.  So I make banana bread.  And right now you’re going to join me.

So gather your ingredients, monkeys, and get on it.  After one bite of this banana bread, you will start buying bananas to rot on your counter too, just like me.

Ingredients:

1 ¾ c. flour.  This is not a precious measurement.  In Home Ec you learned how to scoop a heaping cup of flour and scrape off the top to get a good measurement.  This is not how things are done in the real world.  Just scoop it, shake off the excess, and forget about being perfect for once.

2/3 c. sugar.  White, addicting, refined-beyond-all-nutritional value sugar.  Why a person would bake without sugar is beyond me.  If I couldn’t have sugar I’d die.  Coincidentally, I’ll probably die because of all the sugar I eat. 

2 t. baking powder.  It’s the stuff in the canister.  Get it straight, quick, because pretty soon you’re going to need its cousin.

½ t. baking soda.  It’s in the orange box!  Or if you’re me, and buy all generic ingredients, it has your store logo on it.  What?  Generic is the new black.

¼ t. salt.  Regular salt, people.  Stay with me.

1 c. ripe banana.  This is about 2 or 3 regular sized bananas.  Truthfully, once I used four, and no one was the wiser.  I’m not sure that banana bread cares about how banana-y it tastes.

1/3 c. butter.  You can use margarine for this, but who would do such a thing?  My rule is: if you have butter, use butter.  Or, more to the point: Use butter if you’re not a jerk.

2 T. milk.  I know, this ingredients list is getting long.  It’s really not that much stuff.  You probably have all these ingredients at home anyway, so stop complaining.  We’re almost done.

2 eggs.  Just borrow them from your neighbor.

Optional: ¼ c. chopped nuts.  If you use nuts I’m not eating it.  Also optional: ¼ to ½ c. chocolate chips.  If you use chocolate chips you are my hero.  I usually use chocolate chips; that means that I am my own hero.

Got ‘em all, right?  Had ‘em all in your cupboard, right?  I’m telling you, you may never eat a banana on its own again.  Keep reading and you’ll see why:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a loaf pan.  A regular one, okay?  Like 8x4x2.  Go the extra mile and sprinkle some sugar to coat the greased pan.  I always grease with butter, even though I hate the mess of it.  Adding the sugar makes up for it.  I lie.  It totally doesn’t.  But I like to sugar coat my loaf.  Yeah.  That’s what *I* said.

In a big mixing bowl combine 1 c. of the flour, the rest of your dry ingredients, the banana, butter, and milk.  Go ahead and mix that up with your mixer on low until it’s blended, and then shoot it up to high speed for a couple of minutes.  Add the eggs and the remaining flour and beat that until it’s all blended.  Don’t be a chump; scrape the sides of the bowl.  After you’ve licked the beaters (salmonella be damned), stir in the nuts if you don’t know what’s good or chocolate chips if you do.  Refrain from eating the whole bowl of batter with a spoon.  Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan before you lose your resolve.

This picture is the grossest.  Did you know too-ripe bananas were so disgusting?
Oh, you did?
Yeah.  Me too.
So this is how I measure chocolate chips.  I put two handfuls like this in the batter.
It's times like these that I wish someone were around to say:
"I'll give you fifty bucks if you stuff all those chocolate chips in your mouth at once."
I would be a billionaire.

Look how the sugar sparkles.  That's some magic right there.

Bake it in the oven for one hour or until a toothpick stuck in near the center comes out clean.  That’s 60 minutes for all you international bakers.  Cool on a wire rack.  When it’s almost cool, flip the bread out of the pan and onto the rack (about twenty minutes).  Cool completely, and wrap it in plastic to store for a few hours or overnight before you slice it.  I don’t know what happens if you don’t wrap it up before you slice it.  Does it fall apart like a meat loaf?  Does it taste nasty?  Does it slap you in the face for omitting this step?  I don’t know.  But I always wrap my loaf before I slice it, and it’s never let me down.  Do you know what else?  I also store it in the fridge.  Crazy!

If you don't think that's glorious then I don't know you.

The next morning, you will have fantastic banana bread that you can serve for breakfast instead of the pop tarts that have become a staple in your home.  Your family will hail your baking expertise.  Why, Martha Stewart herself might even call you up and ask you to do a segment on an upcoming show about different ways to cook with bananas.

Probably not.  Martha is pretty choosy with her baking experts, and this is just banana bread.  But you will know that you have accomplished greatness.  And as long as there are rotting bananas on your counter, you can repeat this particular success until your last day on earth.

But seriously: why isn’t anyone eating these bananas?  And why do I keep buying them?

I KNOW.  We don't even keep gorillas.


(I adapted this recipe from an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that my mother-in-law gave to me.  I also have one from the 50s, inherited from my great-great aunt.  That version has some of the grossest recipes and pictures on earth.  Sometimes, just for kicks, I tell my kids that I'm making select recipes from it for dinner.  Man, I love having kids.)

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37 comments:

  1. I love banana bread and I hate nuts too!
    This does look glorious. YUM.
    (I have an aversion to too-ripe bananas too, like gag-worthy reactions)

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    1. Oh, that picture! It really does turn my stomach. It did while I was making the banana bread, too. Now it just makes me laugh. I like my bananas a little green, truthfully.

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  2. Mixing the bananas IN with the dry ingredients! Genius. I've tried adding chocolate chips to mine, but I think I added too many. I'll try the double handful method. Also in my mouth.

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    1. I haven't cut it yet, but I feel like I didn't add enough. Getting the right amount of chocolate chips is an important skill to master. Also eating them by the handful is a talent that everyone should cultivate.

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  3. Your recipes are the best. I'm pinning this on both my regular recipe board and my WTF board - your ripe banana picture is nasty!

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    1. Thanks Poppy! It was nasty in person, too. There's not much grosser than touching mushy bananas. I'm honored to be included on both of your boards. Especially the WTF one.

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  4. I don't like nuts in my banana bread, either. But I always add chocolate chips. Always. And I have been known to eat them by the handful, too.

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    1. I think that's what chocolate chips were made for. Little bites of deliciousness, to be eaten by the handful. Or to put in banana bread.

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  5. You make me laugh ALL THE TIME. I adore you for it. Also for baking. I suck at baking- but that really doesn't stop me.

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    1. Thank you, Keely!

      I like the IDEA of baking. And I like the final product. I don't like that I can bake something and one day, it's manna from heaven, and the next time, it looks and tastes like someone sneaked garbage in it while I was licking the beaters.

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  6. Your recipe posts (and all your other posts) crack me up each time! :-)

    And yes this does look good. I want to eat at your house. I'll pin this. The limp banana picture. ;-)

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    1. Thanks Jennie. Those bananas are the worst. Come over anytime. We will eat things that are bad for us and giggle. :)

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  7. I buy them for this purpose too. I mean you HAVE to do something with them!! And the chocolate chips are frickin' brilliant!

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    1. Yes! The last time I made this I forgot the choc chips (or CC's, as we like to call them in our house) and there was almost a mutiny.

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  8. I make banana muffins a lot for breakfast and they always have disgusting bananas and chocolate chips in them. Because, healthy. "international bakers" I DIE.

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    1. Thanks Greta!! And I agree. Anything with fruit in it is deemed healthy. ANYTHING. :)

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  9. this looks DELISH! but I must disagree...nuts are a MUST, not optional! :)

    how, I must ask, are you bad at baking cookies?!

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    1. I don't know how I am bad at baking cookies. I think I see myself as bad because they don't always turn out perfectly.

      Of course, as with anything, I probably just need more practice. :)

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  10. I can't wait to try this! And a friend of mine adds peanut butter chips to her bread...HEAVEN I tell you! Now I'm thinking I need to add half chocolate, half peanut butter chips!

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    1. You know, we always have peanut butter chips on hand - they're my daughter's favorite - and she suggested it. I said No Way - I didn't think it would taste good at all. And once again, I should probably listen to my children more.

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  11. I don;t like bananas, but the rest of my family does and because I love them, I will make this for them.

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  12. According to my seven year old, banana bread without chocolate chips is just not worth the bother.

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    1. My ten-year-old and your seven-year-old would be fast friends, I think.

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  13. I know that BHG banana bread - have used and adapted it many times over for precisely the same reason. What is it with people and not eating bananas?

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    1. It's an old recipe - from the 80s, and it's changed quite a bit from then to now. I don't know what it is about letting bananas go to rot. Maybe it's a subconscious thing - our deepest desire is for banana bread, and that keeps us from eating the fruit on its own. Yeah - I'm going with that.

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  14. I love banana bread, but my family eats bananas way too fast so I never get to make it. Maybe I'll leave that picture of the gross bananas near them in hopes they will be so grossed out they won't eat the bananas. Think it'll work?

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    1. Ha ha! That picture would be very useful in this situation, I think. It's SO GROSS!!!

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  15. There are other people that agree that nuts don't belong in bread?!? Thank you for agreeing that it is wrong on basically every level.

    For me, dead bananas typically end up in pancakes or waffles. You can also freeze them. They turn dark, but their taste holds.

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    1. Dead bananas. Ha ha ha - I love that! And no to nuts in baked goods.

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  16. Ah, yes...banana bread. I love it...my family is "meh" about it. But chocolate chips...why, WHY did I never think of this??? Now I can't wait to make it again! I'll bet even the boys will be somewhat excited for it if I throw the choc chips in!! Mmmm... :)

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    1. You'll never go back to regular banana bread again. Unless you forget, which no one will allow.

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  17. My family loves banana bread so I am always searching for fab recipes. This looks great to try, just for the commentary alone. A quick tip I do with all my nana recipes... I mash up my rotties before adding them in... they mix up better. Can to wait to try this!

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    1. My bananas are usually so rotten that I just squeeze them right out of the skins. Ugh I think I have to go spit out my gum now.

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