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Monday, January 06, 2014

Banana Bread


I find people often have over-ripe bananas this time of the year.  With Christmas just barely past and lots of sweets and goodies still around the house, fruit sometimes gets overlooked and bananas don't last long.  When this happens I throw the bananas in a freezer bag, skin still on, and have them ready to bake with when the frantic pace of the holidays brings more rational eating into place.  

I was poking through the freezer this morning and came across four frozen, very dead looking bananas in a bag marked September 2011.  I think the bag may have been reused from blueberries I had frozen the year before so that would mean the bananas were actually frozen 2012.  At any rate, I thought it was about time I put them out of their misery and bake a banana bread. 
  


I leave the frozen bananas on the counter for about an hour and they easily slip out of their skins just about already mashed and ready for the recipe.

The original name on this recipe was Banana Nut Bread but most of the family likes it with chocolate chips.  I say they've gone to the "dark side" because for me banana bread should, must and will always have nuts, except when the kids are at home. The recipe is fairly straight forward but unusual at the same time because most banana bread recipes don't include milk.  I believe this recipe was one I used when I taught home economics in the last century (1990s) to grades 8-12.   You can use more bananas than the 1½ cups, just make sure the mashed bananas and milk measure 2¼ cups together.  If you prefer a sweeter banana bread increase the brown sugar from ¼ to ½ cup.  


Banana Bread
Sift or mix together:
2 cups flour
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Stir in:
½ cup finely chopped walnuts or...
½ cup chocolate chips (if you must) or both chips and nuts

Beat together:
1 egg
¾ cup sour milk*
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼  cup vegetable oil or melted shortening
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas
¼ - ½ cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.  You may also line the pan with parchment paper for easy removal of loaf.

Add liquid to dry ingredients and beat for about half a minute.  (Batter will be somewhat lumpy).  Turn into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Lower heat to 350 degrees and continue baking an additional  40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

*To sour milk add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar in bottom of measuring cup and add enough milk to make ¾ cup. 
 
 
When you mix the dry and wet ingredients together do not over-mix. 
The batter may have a few lumps and this is how it should be.


Place the batter in a parchment-lined pan.  
This will make for easy removal.

 This large pan took a total of 70 minutes to bake.  
It baked perfectly with no wet spots in the middle.

You may please everyone if you divide the batter into smaller pans. 
Walnuts for me and chocolate chips for everyone else.

Perfectly sliced, ready for a slathering of butter or maybe a little cream cheese spread. 

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