Aside from going bananas in and around what I’ve counted as the ninth snow storm to date (with more coming our way), I’ve been spending a lot of time with my bread machine. Why? Who knows? Perhaps it’s because being snowed in repeatedly, day after miserable day, I’m beginning to feel as though I’m living well in the past, back on the prairie, when there was nothing you could do in snowy conditions like this but be sure you had enough provisions, stay warm, stay safe, stay inside, and bake bread.
No, I’m not going to impose a bread machine rant on you, that’s my own cross to bear (it’s just not the real thing). Let me be honest. I’m basically very lazy about kneading bread and letting it rise, only to have to go through the process again. Yet another confession for me to add to my recent list of confessions from my previous blog, “I Get Delirious”.
I don’t really like the shape of the loaf my bread maker turns out, but I’ll live with it in order to be able to simply dump everything into one receptacle, turn on the device, and come back three hours later to an aromatic, home-made, rectangular (my-bad) loaf in order to avoid the tedium of the knead-and-rise method.
But, I digress. What comes to mind from my own distant past is an old family recipe from my mom. I remember coming home from school and having this wonderful banana bread waiting for me with a glass of milk (OK, it wasn’t milk, it was a cup of tea since I hated milk…yet another lie I’ll have to confess to) on those cold, wintry days.
Mind you, I’ve modified the recipe a bit to make it healthier, but the bread is just as delicious as it has always been. Please note that this bread is more of a sweet, moist bread than anything else because of the state of the bananas…overly ripe and on the verge of being tossed out. When your bananas reach this stage, STOP! IN THE NAME OF LOVE, BEFORE YOU BREAK MY HEART and throw them out, and consider recycling them into a bread that I promise you’ll make over and over again for the rest of the winter…or at least until you figure out why I’m going down the Motown road and bringing Diana Ross into the picture. Perhaps she’d like this recipe, too. I’ll make the bread for Prince, but Diana is going to have to do it herself. Recipe follows:
Set oven to 350 degrees. While oven warms, prepare the bread mix:
3/4 cup of Sugar in the Raw (you can use white sugar if you can’t find this, but it’s worth the search. It’s available in most super-size supermarkets like Super Stop-and-Shop. Another name for it is Turbinado Sugar).
1-1/2 cups of cake flour (regular white flour can be substituted, but the cake flour is worth the swap, again found in most super-size markets)
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream or low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup safflower or sunflower oil
2 ripe bananas (see image for what I consider the perfect ripe banana)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
PAM spray with flour for pan
Standard 8 x 4 rectangular loaf pan (Pyrex glass is best)
Mash ripe bananas in a bowl with a fork. Add all other wet ingredients to mashed bananas. Add all dry ingredients and mix well.
Spray PAM with flour into loaf pan. Be sure to coat sides and corners very well.
Pour mixture into pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven. Insert a toothpick in the center of the loaf. Return to oven for an additional 5-10 minutes if toothpick has bread residue on it.
If returning to oven, check loaf again with toothpick in 5 minutes. When toothpick is clean, bread is done.
Cool on rack for at least 30 minutes. Turn pan over onto another dish to remove from pan (loaf will be upside-down), then place another plate on top of upside-down loaf and turn over again to right-side loaf (does this make sense?).
The Big Tine
P.S. Prince, if you forward me your address I would be happy to deliver your banana bread in person. But please, no autographs!!!