Got a couple of bananas on your counter that are looking a little past their prime? Here's an inexpensive and laughably easy quickbread recipe that you can pop into the oven in under 20 minutes.
This bread is simply delicious: it's sweet but not too sweet, it's filling yet not too filling, and it goes perfectly with breakfast, lunch, snacktime, dinner or dessert. Enjoy!
Inspired by, and modified from, Better Homes and Gardens
1 cup all-purpose white flour, unsifted
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/3 cup butter
2 Tablespoons milk
Another 3/4 cup white flour, unsifted
1) Combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl (Note: be sure to preheat your oven to 350F, or 175C before you begin combining ingredients).
2) Add bananas, butter and milk, and combine with a hand mixer on low speed. Once fully combined, beat at high speed for 1-2 minutes.
3) Add eggs and remaining 3/4 cup flour and use your hand mixer to blend fully.
4) Pour batter into a well-greased 9-inch loaf pan and bake at 350F (175C) for 55 minutes. Test for doneness during the last 5-10 minutes by sticking a fork or toothpick into the top center of the bread (if it comes out clean, your bread is done).
5) Cool for 5 minutes and then remove from pan. Then cool on a platter or wire rack for another 20-30 minutes until just warm. Slice and serve. To store, wrap loosely in plastic wrap or a clean plastic bag.
1) Optional modifications: I'm not a fan of nuts in my banana bread, but you can feel free to add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of chopped nuts to the batter if you like. Gently stir in the nuts after you've finished mixing the batter. I'd recommend using a mild nut that won't overwhelm the bread--good options would be chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans.
Also, here's an idea to garnish/decorate your banana bread: after you've put the batter in the greased loaf pan, place 3-4 unbroken pecan halves, walnut halves or almonds along the top of the loaf. Gently push them partway into the batter. They'll brown nicely in the oven and give the bread an artistic look.
2) A quick note for beginning cooks: you'll need two pieces of gear to make this recipe: First, a 9-inch loaf pan. These can be easily found online at Amazon, or at any department store for around $10. Second, you'll need a basic electric hand mixer, another fundamental kitchen item you can buy quite cheaply (a good one will run you less than $25). You'll get decades of use out of both items.
3) If you find yourself with a few aging bananas but you don't have time to make banana bread today, just toss the bananas in the freezer until you need them. The outer peels will turn a revolting dark brown color, but don't worry--the banana inside only needs to be thawed out and it will be perfect for your bread-making purposes.
4) A surprising bonus use for frozen bananas: they are perfect for icing your knees after a run. Sit with your legs up and place a frozen banana on top of each leg, just below the kneecap. It's a great preventative treatment for patellar tendonitis (runner's knee). Yes, I'm totally serious.
5) Make sure you don't confuse baking soda with baking powder and put in the wrong amounts of each. Baking powder has much more leavening power than baking soda--if you leave it out or put in too little, your bread will come out looking more like a pancake than a loaf.
6) Which reminds me of a time when I made a baking power/baking soda error as a kid. I was making a batch of cookies under my Mom's partial supervision, and I flaked and used baking powder instead of baking soda. The cookies came out nearly 4 inches tall! At least now I can laugh about it. At the time (I was seven or eight years old) I probably cried.
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