A few weeks ago my son-in-law mentioned that if I made some banana bread he’d be happy to help me eat it. Then a week or so later he suggested it would be a good idea to post a banana bread recipe on the blog. A few days ago, he asked if I’d made banana bread yet. Okay, it took a while, but the light bulb finally clicked on and I took the hint.
It might be a long as five years since I last made banana bread. But as I was mixing it together I was reminded of the time when I used to bake every Sunday afternoon in the winter. It was my ritual to make banana bread or lemon loaf, cookies or brownies, and a savoury dish or two. This not only set us up with lots of food for the week ahead, but it was my weekly kitchen therapy, peaceful time spent creating that was balm for my soul and my busy mind.
I know there are approximately a zillion recipes for banana bread out there, and the internet truly doesn’t need another. But what makes mine special isn’t any secret ingredient or method; it’s the memories it evokes. And it’s the promise of new memories as well, as I share this recipe now not just with my children, but their children too. And one day, I know, I will drop by for a visit to one of their homes and there on the table will be a golden brown loaf of banana bread that they will share with me. That’s the cycle of favourite family recipes.
I’ve always eaten banana bread plain, not even spread with butter. But, if you want to add a luxurious touch, why not adorn it with a lavish smear of maple butter scented with cinnamon? Yes, the bread is moist and delicious on its own, and doesn’t need the butter, but my, oh my, what a difference it makes. It takes a humble favourite to a whole new level. I’ll be posting the maple butter recipe later this week and believe me, it’s worth returning for!
A quick bread like this is an excellent choice for the brunch table, or as a sweet end to a casual lunch. Who wouldn’t want to find a thick slice wrapped in parchment paper in their lunch bag for school or work? It’s also just the thing for when company drops by, especially with the addition of the maple butter.
So many of us have been seduced by the proliferation of fanciful, architectural dessert concoctions that we see on Pinterest and elsewhere that we forget that sometimes the best treats are the simple ones, especially if they remind us of happy times and old memories.
Pre-heat the over to 350℉. Butter and flour a standard loaf pan, or butter it, line with parchment and butter the parchment.
I know few people who like to eat overripe bananas, but they’re just the ticket for banana bread. Not having any on hand, either fresh or in the freezer, I found some on the clearance table in the produce department at my local grocer. You can simply mash bananas with a fork.
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups well-mashed banana (3 – 4, depending on size)
- 1-1/2 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
Measure all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Stir and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat in. Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla and mashed banana; mix until well incorporated.
With the mixer on low, stir in half of the flour mixture until just blended. Repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, scrape the beater and ensure the batter is evenly mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake for an hour, or until a tester comes out clean. (Depending on your oven, you might want to check it at the 50- or 55-minute mark. It’s easy to leave it in longer, but once it’s over-baked there’s no going back!)
Cool in the pan on a baking rack for 15 or 20 minutes, then remove the loaf and continue cooling. Breads like this are delightful served warm, so I won’t judge if you cut into yours while it’s still cooling.