The Return of Baking: Banana Bread
It’s officially autumn in Iowa, with cooler temperatures (and rather unfortunately frequent rain of late), which means it feels good to fire up the oven and do some baking again. Autumn always makes me crave quick breads. As sweets go, quick breads tend to be somewhat nutritious, loaded with fruits and veggies like banana, zucchini, or pumpkin. They also respond well to being lightened up — the traditional butter or oil replaced (at least in part) with applesauce, ground flax, or yogurt. Even so, sometimes it’s nice to bust out a traditional family favorite without thinking too hard about calorie and fat content. This is my mom’s banana bread recipe, the one she’s been making since I was a kid, and it is one of my favorites. It has no nuts, no spices — just the sweet, simple flavor of ripe bananas (in fact, this recipe works best with overly ripe bananas). It’s excellent on its own, or toasted and spread with a bit of cream cheese. Below is my mom’s recipe, with the choice of some healthful tweaking in brackets, in case you’re feeling virtuous.
Momma’s Banana Bread
2/3 cup sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, or half of each)
1/3 cup butter [or 2 Tbsp butter and 1/4 cup applesauce]
2 eggs [or 1 egg and 1 Tbsp ground flax and 3 Tbsp water]
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large or 3 small)
3 Tbsp sour milk or buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Beat together sugar, butter, and eggs until smooth. Mix in mashed bananas and sour milk. Stir in flour, baking powder, and baking soda just until incorporated. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Let sit for about 2 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.