Bread · Sides

Fantastic Banana Bread

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Whenever I make banana bread, it reminds me of my Nana. It was she who taught me the secret ingredient for fantastic banana bread: patience. Because this, and this alone, is the secret to really fantastic banana bread: You must wait until your bananas are so ripe that you’re afraid they’re going to melt! If you’ve a craving for banana bread & don’t want to wait, ask at your grocery store. Sometimes they have over-ripe bananas in the back that they’ve removed from the shelf because they think nobody will buy them. You can even get them to discount the price, since they were going to throw the bananas away anyhow!

Really Ripe BananasThe middle banana is perfect. The other two are close, but it’s going to be 90° today & tomorrow, so a) I want to get having a hot oven over with as early as possible, and b) I’m afraid that another 24 hours in this heat might tip the balance from perfectly over-ripe to rotten. So I’m baking today. 

Banana bread is one of the first things I can remember baking. It’s pretty easy, and very forgiving. It goes with just about any meal, and most kids love it. I really used to make it a lot. In fact, I made it so often that I can still tell you that the recipe I used was on page 624 of the 1980 edition of The Joy of Cooking. Here’s how I make it these days. (You’ll find a printer-friendly version at the bottom of this page.)

“Always take a banana to a party, Rose. Bananas are good.” – The Doctor

Ingredients:

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1¾ cups flour

2¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¾ tsp Penzeys lemon peel

⅓ cup shortening

⅔ cup sugar

1 egg

3 medium-sized, VERY ripe bananas

Preparation:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°, and grease a bread pan. Whisk  flour, baking powder, salt, & lemon peel together in a small bowl; set aside.

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2.) Blend shortening & sugar in a separate bowl until creamy.

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Add egg & bananas; beat until well-mixed but still just a bit lumpy. Notice how thin the banana peels are, now that they’re overripe.

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Notice how thin the banana skins have become, now that they’re over-ripe.

 

3.) Add the dry ingredients, and beat until nearly smooth. You’ll still see small lumps of banana, pea-sized or so.

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4.) Bake about 50-60 minutes, or until done. The top will be slightly brown, the center will bounce back when pressed lightly with a finger, and the bread will just be starting to pull in from the sides of the pan. Let sit 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. You’ll have better luck slicing if you wait until it’s fully cool, but then your butter won’t melt. Your choice!

 

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Banana Bread

Ingredients


1¾ cups flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp Penzeys lemon peel
⅓ cup shortening
⅔ cup sugar
1 egg
3 medium-sized, VERY ripe bananas

Directions

1.) Preheat oven to 350°, and grease a bread pan. Whisk  flour, baking powder, salt, & lemon peel together in a small bowl; set aside.
2.) Blend shortening & sugar in a separate bowl until creamy. Add egg & bananas; beat until well-mixed but still just a bit lumpy.
3.) Add the dry ingredients, and beat until nearly smooth. You’ll still see small lumps of banana, pea-sized or so.
4.) Bake about 50-60 minutes, or until done. The top will be slightly brown, the center will bounce back when pressed lightly with a finger, and the bread will just be starting to pull in from the sides of the pan. Let sit 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

 

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