RECIPE: Easy, addictive banana bread

Fresh outta the pan. Yum.

I don’t remember when I created this recipe; all I remember is that it changed my life.

I know it must seem like I say that a lot; it must seem like I didn’t have much of a life if a recipe for Banana Bread changed it. Maybe I didn’t have much of a life. Maybe none of us do until we discover The Recipe that defines us, the one that becomes our go-to treat for bake sales, fun kid snacks or rainy days.

Perfect.

Don’t get me wrong; I love to make pies. I can eat entire coconut cakes in one sitting. The smell of making my own veggie broth is divine, as is the look on a customer’s face when they come to pick up my cinnamon rolls for a casual family brunch they are driving to a few hours away. And my Nana’s chocolate cake? To die for.

But that’s Nana’s chocolate cake, not mine. It’s her defining recipe, not mine. The pies? They belong to a woman who taught a pie-making class in Twin Falls, Idaho (though I am certainly guilty of hoarding them for the better part of a few years). But this recipe? This is mine. All mine.

When my son was 2-years-old I would make this in place of muffins or cupcakes. I made two or three batches a week. We’d whip up a batch, put it in the Nordicware cupcake molds for cars or bugs or dinosaurs, and freeze them.

Make it fun, use a bug mold like this from NordicWare

Make it fun, use a bug mold like this from NordicWare

Bugs, cars and dinosaurs are a lot more fun to eat for breakfast than slices of bread, you know. Especially when you are two-years-old.

Got too many overly ripe bananas? Mash them all, freeze them in little one cup sizes, ready to make a batch later. Rubbermaid makes some fantastic one-cup sized containers. Mine have a light blue lid. Or use freezer bags.

I like that the recipe doesn’t use a ton of sugar. I also like that it includes a decent amount of oatmeal, so it is somewhat filling. You can sprinkle some powdered sugar on top if you want, or eat it plain. It is glorious both ways.

I used to sell this for $10 a loaf. In Idaho. That’s saying something.

To make Dairy-Free: use Earth Balance in place of butter or shortening.

Ingredients:

I put over-ripe bananas in freezer bags, mash, and freeze for use later.

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 c shortening **use Earth Balance to make dairy-free
3/4 c w. sugar
2 eggs
1c mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla

Dry Ingredients:

1.5 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c quick oats

Directions:

Preheat to 350

Our chickens’ eggs have these unreal amber-gold yolks that color everything bright and sunny.

CREAM shortening and sugar. Stir in eggs, banana and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients separately and keep oats separate from both mixes. Add dry mix to the wet mix slowly. Add oats last.

Pour (scoop!) in to a well-greased pan (I suggest using real butter instead of spray..makes an amazing buttery-crisp crust). Bake 45-55 min as a loaf of bread. Less if making muffins. I pulled today’s loaf out at 43 minutes because that was when a knife inserted came out clean…but keep in mind that if you triple the banana a knife may never come out clean, and that’s OK, too.
If you have a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, like Ada, then you will have a very easy time with this recipe. Heck, you don’t even need to mash the bananas ahead of time, you can just slip them in.
You can use more than 1 c mashed bananas. I have been known to use up to 3 cups. 🙂 I’ve also been known to add in cinnamon and more oats, just because I can.

And, I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t resist including Mr. Bourdain. It’s a post about bananas, for goodness sake. No food is more phalic other than, perhaps, my hometown’s own Geoduck. Did you happen to see that episode of No Reservations? Where Tony ate Geoduck in the Seattle area? Was it as good for you as it was for me? (6:43 mark; watch from 4:00 on.)

Anthony Bourdain would like my banana bread.

Anthony Bourdain would like my banana bread.