Baking Banana Bread

The smell of banana bread baking -- oooh!  I love it!  We're getting ready for Christmas, and banana bread mini loaves with chocolate chips is one of my favorite gifts to give neighbors and friends.  The smell always makes me feel nostalgic. 

I didn't do a lot of baking on my mission, and I missed it.  One morning while I was serving in Karlsruhe, a member invited us to brunch with her good friend and neighbor.  As she was a particular sweetheart, and member referrals were rather rare for us, we were pretty excited.  We had a wonderful visit with them and talked about the Restoration and the prophet Joseph Smith.  She served fruit breads, fruit tea, and fruit juice.  I mentioned banana bread, but they had never heard of it.  So I made them some later that week. 

Banana bread recipe

I had brought a small collection of recipes with me on my mission.  This is the recipe card that I wrote for myself when I was in high school, 30+ years of kitchen stains and all.  I've adapted the recipe since.  I've made it with other fruits besides bananas (apples, pumpkin, even zucchini), just approximating the volume of fruit to what the bananas would be.  I also routinely substitute wheat flour for half of the flour.  And the oil and sugar--that's a lot of oil and sugar y'all!  I cut them at least in half or more, depending on what fruit I am using.  I usually add chocolate chips in place of the walnuts.  And the "or 300* for 35 mins" at the bottom?  You can ignore that.  Not sure where that came from.  :)

Here is how I make it today:

4-6 overripe bananas, mashed 

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix well.  

In a separate bowl, measure:

2 cups flour (1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 all-purpose)

3/4 - 1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together and add to banana mixture, stirring in.  Add 3/4 cup chocolate chips and nuts if desired.  Be careful to mix well but not to over mix.  Spray 2 loaf pans and pour batter into pans, filling half full.  Bake at 350*F (175* C) for an hour. (Or 5-6 mini loaves.  Check them after 35 minutes.)  Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center.  It should come out clean.  

Remove from the pans right away to a cooling rack. 

When cooled, wrap well with plastic wrap to freeze.  Keeps well for several weeks in the freezer -- if it lasts that long.  ;)

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