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.
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:
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.
|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.)