Banana Bread and procrastination
My summer reading book this year is Gulliver’s Travels. It’s a classic, full of satire and adventure and fantasy. At least, according to Cliff Notes. I can’t seem to focus on poor Gulliver and his compelling travels when it’s a gorgeous summer day and we have ripe bananas. No, I think I’ll make banana bread instead.
Unlike most people, I don’t make banana bread when unsightly brown splotches bloom all over our bananas. Honestly, I like banana bread so much that I can never wait for them to become overripe. I end up stashing them in a paper bag and waiting about a day, hoping they’ll be aged enough by the next day. I’ve even been known to use perfectly firm, yellow bananas for my bread, just mashing them extra soft with a fork. I know it compromises flavor. I can’t help it.
So like most people, I’ve tried a fair share of banana bread recipes. I’ve teetered from the traditional path a few times – chocolate chips, cocoa powder, nuts and no nuts, dried fruit, coconut – but when it comes down to it, plain and simple banana bread is what I really like. My dad has made banana bread on occasion for as long as I can remember, his favorite being Martha’s recipe (with half cake flour). Me, I still haven’t found The One. But this one came pretty close. It comes from Elise at Simply Recipes. I followed her recipe to a T (except that I sprinkled quick cooking oats over the top) and before long the house smelled like warm bananas. Mmmm. Definitely more enthralling than Gulliver’s Travels.
Elise’s Banana Bread
3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar (can be reduced to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 4×8 loaf pan. Mix the bananas and butter with a wooden spoon in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla until combined, then the baking soda and salt. Gently add the flour, being careful not to overmix. Pour into the pan and top with quick cooking oats. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the banana bread cool 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a rack and cooling completely.
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