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The Weekend Began with Bananas

March 22, 2010

It’s true that so much of what we know about food comes from our parents and in particular, the dishes that they put on your table growing up. Now my family is not a family of bakers, per se, even though everyone in my immediate family is a really good baker. Outside of a few really incredible cake recipes, our traditional holiday cookies, and the absolute best pie crust I’ve ever had, I don’t recall many baked goods in particular. Well, actually there’s one more I add to that list: my mom’s banana bread.

The recipe comes from the Silver Palate Cookbook which, if you don’t have it already, you should seriously consider purchasing. The banana bread has the softness of a wonderful tea cake, but a richness of flavor that comes from a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flours. There’s something about eating this bread with its faint sweetness and little pockets of bananas and crunchy walnuts that makes me crave it even more.

Bananas never last long enough in our house to do this often, but with Jared in Haiti and Brian on a plane to Chicago, I started my weekend with this banana bread. And I might have possibly had two slices. Don’t judge me you would to.

Banana Bread
Adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook

8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur)
3 large, very ripe bananas, mashed*
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cut walnuts, coarsely chopped

*Mashed does not mean pureed. Having little pea-sized chunks of banana in your bread will bring you endless joy. Endless.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″ x 5″ x 3″ loaf pan
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. If using a stand mixer, be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom twice.
  • Sift all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt together, stir in whole-wheat flour and add to creamed mixture, mixing well.
  • Fold in mashed bananas, vanilla and walnuts.
  • Pour mixture into loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes (mine took 70), or until a cake tester or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then cool completely — if you can — on a rack.
  • Serve, with butter, jam, or simply on its own.

This bread stores well for 3 or 4 days if tightly wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap and kept in a cool, dark place.

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