Moving from college residence halls back into a real apartment has reminded me how wonderful it is to cook for myself. Despite the fact that I will happily eat whatever is placed in front of me at the culinary school buffet, I have completely different tendencies when I cook for myself. I eat virtually no red meat, use very little oil and salt, and sometimes fall back on a huge plate of vegetables for dinner. Seriously, vegetables are so good! They don’t need any rendered bacon fat or pieces of ham in order to give them flavor. Plus, summer is drawing ever nearer, which means that farmer’s market season is upon us! They are just starting to open their sleepy eyes around the city, so I can’t wait to take advantage of fresh, delicious produce that’s actually in season.
Anywho, I’ve also been revisiting some of my favorite home baking recipes. I took a peek through my old posts and realized that–somehow–I still haven’t shared my favorite banana bread recipe. I sincerely apologize. Whether you know it or not, your life has been significantly lacking without this recipe.
A few years ago, I did a series of banana bread experiments that led me to this sweet and tender loaf. The best part about this recipe is its moist exterior, which can only be achieved by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar, first to coat the pan and then to cover the banana bread.
The heavy coating of sugar also bakes into the crust and helps the banana bread stay moister longer. Plus you get a beautiful ridge down the middle of the loaf. In the baking world, we call that an invitation.
The brown sugar lends a more interesting flavor, and if your bananas are nice and ripe–think mushy–they will contribute a lot of moisture as well as additional sweetness. This banana bread makes a great breakfast, bake sale item, afternoon snack, potluck contribution, midnight nibble… well, you get the idea. Enjoy!
5 very ripe bananas
4 large eggs
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. talt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease two 9 x 5 loaf pans and sprinkle them with cinnamon-sugar.
2. In a medium bowl, mash bananas and stir in the eggs until well blended.
3. In a large bowl, beat the shortening and butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar; beat well. Add the banana mixture and vanilla and mix well. Blend flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into batter just until combined.
4. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans. Generously sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over each loaf.
5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.