What's a girl to do? I'd just bought a large bunch of bananas, set them on the counter to induce my children to beg and whine piteously for them, rather than for cookies, and then a week of freakishly warm weather hit. 80 degrees in May? Pleasant, but it reduced my bright, yellow bananas to a mound of ominously spotted, squishy fruit. so, of course, I made banana bread.
Banana bread is all I know to do with left-over bananas. Other clever cooks whip up cakes, cookies, or some intimidating pastry. I make banana bread. I would hang my head in shame if my banana bread weren't so tasty. I love it. It's moist, tender, with a tasty crust and loaded with nuts. I found out my neighbors from the middle East love it too, so generally when I make it, I'll take a loaf over to them. I found out, not too long ago, that they think it's the only kind of bread l I know how to make. Oops, I guess I need to broaden my kitchen offerings to them.
I've tweaked this recipe a lot over the years and it's a little different every time I make it. I'll give it to you as I made it this time, but know that you can make a single loaf, or four loaves with it and add or subtract eggs based on how much banana mush you have. One thing I did differently this time was change out the shortening for butter and it was a change for the better. Good texture and better flavor.
Back when I was hung up on fats I replaced half the fat with yogurt. I left it that way because I like the moistness it imparts to the bread. If you're worried about fats, read this fascinating article. It made me feel better about all the butter I use in baking.
Better Banana Bread - makes two loaves
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
3-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour*
1-1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Blend until creamy:
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1-1/3 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp chopped lemon zest
3 beaten eggs
2 cups mushed, ripe bananas
Add the sifted ingredients in about 3 parts to the sugar mixture. Beat the batter after each addition until smooth.
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (toast them for an extra flavor punch)
Place batter in 2 greased loaf pans (I use 9x5) and bake about 1 hour, or until a cake tester in the center comes out clean. Remove to a cooling rack and try to wait for it to cool before slicing. But if you do, you'll miss out on the butter melting into your slice. Oh, I'm drooling. I'd better go cut myself another piece right now!
* You can substitute up to 1/2 cup of the flour with wheat germ for extra nutrition.