Best Banana Bread
When La Petite was in high school, our house was one of the hangouts for the kids. I learned that they were more likely to hang at the homes of parents who fed them, so I kept baking. It worked. One day a coworker and fellow high school mom asked me for my banana bread recipe. "What do you put in it? Alex keeps raving about it!"
I tried an experiment, though, that didn't work so well. It was one of "those" weeks: the weeks when we don't have time to eat the bananas, much less bake them into bread. I tried the Frozen Banana option. Supposedly they'll look gooey and awful, but will bake up well. Well, almost.
I called it the Incredible Collapsing Banana Bread. I thought it was done, but it wasn't. the toothpick test came out clean, but the bread fell in the middle and tasted terrible. It was underdone in a big way. What happened? The only thing out of the ordinary was the frozen bananas. All I could think of was, "Were they too cold? Not the right consistency? What went wrong?"
I approached this dilemma with two tools: increased baking time and smaller pans. My mother (who witnessed the drama of the incredibly collapsed banana bread) gave me tiny bread pans for Christmas. I split a double batch of banana bread between one full-sized pan and three tiny ones. The tiny ones finished quickly, and the big one appeared done. Learning from experience, I let the big pan sit in the still-warm oven for ten minutes before calling it done. It worked.
The third tool (okay, three changes) was this: I made sure the banana goo was completely thawed and at room temperature before mixing and baking.
Well, here goes. Bake it as you wish; but thaw your bananas and use a smaller pan.
Daisy's Banana Bread
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
3 eggs or 3/4 cup egg substitute
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium-large bananas)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups flour (I like 1 cup all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(optional) 1/2 cup chocolate chips and/or 1/2 cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 or 9 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Beat the sugar and butter/margarine in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, bananas, and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into the banana mixture just until moistened. Blend in chocolate chips or nuts. Pour and scrape batter into the loaf pan.
Bake the 8 inch pan for 60 minutes, 9 inch pan for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on a rack before slicing.
Warning: Teenagers in house will inhale this. Make two if you want some for yourself.