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Banana Bread

I have an old standard recipe for never-fail banana nut bread that comes from the red-checkered version of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, so when I got my apartment I got a copy of the cookbook to take with me so that I could have this specific recipe.

Only they went and changed it on me! I ended up with some crazy recipe that had streusel nut topping. Not on, cookbook. [ETA: streusel-laden recipe warning – pop-ups and other annoying advertising]

So I sent home to my mother for a copy of the correct recipe to put into the cookbook:

Banana Nut Bread

1/2 c. shortening butter (5 1/3 Tbsps.)
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs

1 3/4 c. sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. mashed ripe bananas (I use 3 bananas, if I have them. Otherwise, 2)
1/2 c. chopped nuts (pecans, in my land)

Cream together butter and sugar; add eggs and beat well.

Sift together dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with banana, blending well after each addition.

Stir in nuts.

Pour into well greased 9.5″x5″x3″ loaf pan.

Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes or until done. Remove from pan, and cool on a rack.

Now once I started making this in my apartment, I was living in a land with no dishwasher. So instead of mashing the bananas in one bowl, chopping the nuts into another, creaming the butter and sugar in yet another, and then having the large bowl with the dry ingredients and then everything else – I tried to minimize the dishes I would have to do. So I broke apart the nuts into the measuring cups after they’d been used, and I put the bananas straight into the dough and mashed as I mixed it in. This ended up making the dough too dry. So now there is about another 1/2 cup of sour cream in my standard recipe. Basically, I make it the usual way and then I add sour cream until the dough is wet enough.

This recipe makes amazing bread.

This morning, while I was waiting for the bread to cook, I decided to see whether my new cookbook, The Best Recipe by the Cook’s Illustrated people, had any opinions on the perfect technique for making banana bread. And they do:

  • Sour Cream added richness, but it also made for a heavy texture and an unattractive, pebbly crust.
  • they mix the nuts with the dry ingredients and the bananas with the wet, and they add yogurt in with the wet, too.