fresh banana bread

The one good thing about being sick is getting well again, seeing with new eyes all you took for granted. After gingerly eating unbuttered toast, applesauce and chicken noodle soup, you foray back into the world of food, beginning with more substantial soups and buttered rolls, then moving to small portions of meatloaf or candied sweet potatoes, relearning to eat what everyone else is having.

It’s a lot like being a child again, when you’re promoted from milk to pureed vegetables to little bites of normal bread or fruit. Each new food is a taste you’ve not had, a flavor you’ve lived without. And that first bite of banana is so interesting, so different, the feel of it on your tongue, so exciting, that you are thrilled with a world of possibility.


banana bread plated


One thing you can say for a banana: it sticks with you, even when you’re coming off a horrible, horrible stomach cleansing. This week, I’ve eaten one almost every day. And, for someone who usually finds the texture of bananas rather unappealing, I really mean that bit about them being exciting now. After 24 hours of nothing special, a banana (and for that matter, a saltine cracker) seemed heaven-sent, which got me thinking: Maybe I should give bananas, in other forms, another shot.

So for a little while this week, I’ve let myself think about a fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven banana bread, soft but sturdy, with substantial slices you could hold in your hand. It would be a tender loaf, cake-like, sweet with the strong, unmistakable flavor of bananas.

Then, appropriately with The Joy of Cooking as my guide, I made one. And from the moment it came out of the oven, as perfect as I had imagined it, all was well again.

I ate a thick end slice immediately, then two more for breakfast, then another the next evening. In fact, I liked the bread so much, I just might scratch what I said first in this post. After all, Banana Bread, this illness brought me you.




Banana Bread
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (about 2)



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8.5-by-4.5-inch loaf pan (or, what I did, line it with parchment paper, letting the paper drape over the sides; this makes removing the bread from the pan very easy, as you just lift the paper, bringing the loaf with it).

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together thoroughly the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar, beating it on high speed until the mixture turns lightened in color and texture. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar until the consistency of brown sugar.

Gradually beat in the two lightly beaten eggs. Fold in, until just combined, the mashed bananas.

Scrape the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes (mine took the full hour). Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.

Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Kelley

    I’m with you on bananas — usually would just as soon leave them as take them. But banana bread, ahhhh, bliss! I could eat a half a loaf warm, no sweat. :) I don’t want to come between you and your new love, but I will pass along my recipe, in case the first blush wears off.

    So glad you’re feeling better!!

  2. My First Kitchen

    I’m so glad your gutural reaction to food as subsided. And what a way to come back… banana bread rocks my world. I don’t make it much though because the husband isn’t a fan. Thus I eat the entire loaf (or three) in three (or one) days. Blurg.

  3. Shannalee

    Thanks, everyone!

    Jacqui: Oh, I know. Those crusty end pieces are the best!

    Thanks, Lan! How are YOU, btw? Things calmed down after the busy work weekend?

    Kelley: I’m sold. Would you e-mail it to me? I want it, I want it!

    MFK: I’ve almost finished the loaf already. Don’t tell anyone, OK? :)

    Shari: Comfort food at its finest! Thanks for visiting!

  4. Chessa

    I’m so glad you are feeling better! I don’t really like the consistency of bananas either but I know they are good for me so I make myself eat them. When I was studying for the bar exam there was a fruit stand in front of the building where I took my review class. All the fruits looked so delish but I always bought bananas bc they are no-mess and there’s not fear of having to wash them before class. I ate SO many bananas and I barely enjoyed them! having said that, banana bread is one of my faves. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Shannalee

    RobinSue Thanks! BTW I’ve been seeing your pumpkin cake around, and I can’t wait to try it!

    Chessa: Exactly! No mess and easy, but weird, weird texture. Banana bread is the perfect solution. :)

  6. Jennifer

    I add a spoonful or so of Miracle Whip (or mayo, but Miracle Whip works better) to my banana bread batter. It is incredible — it makes it so moist, with just a hint of a satisfying tang to it.

    The first time I did that, my friends raved about how good it was until I told them what the secret ingredient was. :) They thought that it sounded strange, but they sure were excited about gobbling it all up! Now I won’t even consider making my banana bread without a dollop of Miracle Whip. It’s worth trying!

  7. Jennifer

    I just add it in extra.

    After eating the delicious muffins at Panera, I got to wondering what they do to make them so moist. And I remembered a commercial I had seen once for a chocolate cake made with Miracle Whip, and it sounded like a plausible solution. So I just added some in, and it’s never been the same since.

    Recently, we had mayonnaise in the fridge instead of Miracle Whip. The moistness still turned out great, but I didn’t like the flavor as well.

  8. Pingback: On Banana Bread + Some Links | Food Loves Writing

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