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  • Writer's pictureGrace Saadi

"Great for using up those week old bananas"

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

Banana bread is one of the first things I've ever made. Unless you count the time I crafted a masterpiece on the underside of couch cushions with a ballpoint pen. That was definitely the first. Let's call this the first of many edible endeavors.


It began with tagging along as my mom's sous chef, tasked with the ever important step of mashing the brown-splotched bananas like a mad man. Later, I started measuring the ingredients all on my own, and soon enough I was surprising my family with a loaf fresh out of the oven when the arrived home. My independence progressed over time, and with it came experimentation such as making a heart shaped loaf for a friend's birthday. Though I would say my banana bread was at peak performance when I made a dozen muffins to take to school... In a wicker basket... Dressed in a red hood... It was Halloween, don’t worry.


Nevertheless, bananas have an odd stigma in my family household, to say the least. I can never recall requesting them on grocery runs, but they always seem to appear on the kitchen counter. Sometimes I'll find a half eaten banana pathetically covered with plastic wrap, just end up in the trash an hour later. And if not in the trash, it goes Hansel- our greedy little German sausage. It's gotten so bad that we've had to reduce its name to "nannie" and he still knows what we're talking about. I swear that dog can hear the snap of the peal a mile away.


But I think we all agree that it's THE BEST when the bananas over ripen. Not to eat as is, but it gives you the perfect excuse to make banana bread.



In this cookbook lies our nannie bread origins, it always felt ancient to me. Now tattered and torn, taped at the spine containing pages that hang on for dear life. It certainly is a book well used- and even more a book well loved. It looks dated because it kinda is. The interior page contains a note from my grandparents to my mom.


To Gina,

On your move.

Love,

Mom + Dad



It was her first time living on her own.


The page containing the cherished recipe is even worse for the wear. Sandwiched between Apricot Preserve Nut Bread and Boston Brown Bread, page 45 is riddled with stains from said central recipe. When asking my mom to send a photo, she replied with "Sorry it is so dirty. Guess that's a good thing!" I couldn't agree more.


A word of advice: don't follow the recipe just yet, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.


I want to thank Mrs. Masters, whomever you are. Thank you for giving me such a cherished part of my childhood. But I must say, banana bread is not just "great for using up those week old bananas". To me, it's a whole lot more.

 

Banana Bread

Oven: 350 F 50-55 min

Yields 1 large loaf

(will update later to add gram quantities)


For the tin:

shortening

all purpose flour

sugar, granulated


For the batter:

1/2 cup butter, unsalted

1 cup sugar, granulated

2 large eggs

2 bananas, ripe

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

Optional:

1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts nuts, lightly toasted


To finish:

sugar, granulated

sugar, sanding


1. Evenly coat the interior of the tin with shortening. In a small bowl, mix together equal amounts of flour and granulated sugar (doesn't need to be exact). Add the mix to the tin and tap to evenly coat the whole surface and dispose of the excess.

2. Scale the rest of your ingredients in separate bowls. Peel the bananas and lightly mash with a fork.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light. And the eggs and the bananas, mixing well after each addition.

4. Combine the flour and baking soda, and gradually add to the batter, mixing until just incorporated. If desired, lightly mix in the nuts.

5. Pour the batter into the greased/floured pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Generously coat the surface of the batter with granulated and sanding sugar.

6. Bake at 350 F for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

7. Let cool in pan for several minutes, then turn out the loaf onto a rack to finish cooling completely. Slice and serve.

 

Some may consider the literal drowning of sugar a bit overkill, but I consider it to be the secret to success. Each bite becomes a delicacy and the very surface of the loaf caramelizes to perfection- the sugar forming a crust with some added crunch. The inside is moist, soft, and speckled with walnut chunks- which I highly recommend adding as it not only pairs great with banana, but it also adds more textural elements. Also, toasting a slice and slathering it with some butter is yet another great way to serve.


This quick bread also works great as muffin, or in most any loaf shape- get creative!

And get ready to make some memories too!


Side note:

I used this recipe during freshman year of culinary school in my How Baking Works lab. Our final project required two tests with ingredient substitution; we went with egg free and gluten free. The results were astonishing to say the least. From consistency, to flavor, to overall enjoyment- we could hardly tell a difference! More on projects like this yet to come.


Top- control, middle- gluten free blend, bottom- egg free


All photos taken by me (or my mom) and are of products I've made- I drew the banana too!

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