Some people may wonder why home baking is important enough that we should put aside time and make a mess in the kitchen. There is such a variety of baked goods available in so many places from the grocery store to coffee shops and restaurants. It may seem like too much trouble to try baking anything 'from scratch' at home. However, some of the most satisfyingly homey and wonderful recipes are also the most simple, easy, and foolproof.
When you take the time to bake at home, you get so much more than the instant gratification of buying and eating a treat. Memories are connected to sights, smells, and recipes. This is my grandmother's recipe and every single time I have ever baked it, it has both turned out beautifully and gotten rave reviews. I'm always surprised by how much it is appreciated because it is so simple to make. I finally realized that it's because when it's baked at home and served warm, banana bread is nothing like anything you can purchase at a store ready made. This is one of those foods that will never be the same from a mix, and maybe that's why this recipe and the aroma of it baking in the oven will always feel like home.
This is a yummy and comforting treat that I love baking for my son. Banana bread is one of his very favorite foods, and this is another reward of baking at home. Even though I don't recall ever seeing my grandmother make this recipe, every time I get it out of the recipe box I see that it's from her kitchen. Then I remember her unloading groceries at her house and washing the milk jug and the bananas in the sink before putting them away. I remember her mixing up cornbread and wasting nothing, carefully scraping every drop into the pan. I remember her sitting at her table with a tall glass of water, and sharing meals with her. This is the power of recipes: even though distance separates us from people we love, we are connected by the tastes, scents, and rituals of preparing favorite foods. My son doesn't know his great grandmothers very well, but he is linked to them by a few recipes.
3 ripe bananas, mashed and beat
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your loaf pan by smearing the butter wrapper into it, paying special attention to the corners.
Peel the bananas and cut them up a bit in a large bowl. Mash them against the sides of the bowl until you are satisfied with their smoothness. This can be done with an electric mixer, but I always use a fork for the entire recipe. If your bananas are a little small, add an extra one. Use bananas that are ripe with brown and blackish spots, the uglier the better.
Next, add the sugar and mix it all up. Pour in the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and stir well. Finally add the flour, baking soda and baking powder and stir to combine. Scrape the batter into your greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Yes, it will take the entire hour. The crust will become deeply golden brown, with a beautiful crack along the top where you can see the golden center. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean when it's done. It may even take a few minutes more than an hour. Let the bread cool in the pan for just a few minutes and then turn it out onto a rack to cool.
This is the recipe just as I have it written down, but please note that it's very adaptable. For example, you don't have to use butter, but can substitute all or part of it for another oil. I usually use part butter and part olive oil. I never add the milk. I often forget to add the vanilla. I used to only make this recipe using self rising flour and omitting the baking powder and soda. It is always good.
It is so good that when I went to take a picture, this is what I found.