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Banana Bread

Banana BreadIn keeping with the whole “make it from scratch and utilize leftovers” theme from yesterday, I give you something that is easy to make and yummy – Banana Bread.

Okay, so overripe bananas aren’t really leftovers – but what else are you going to do with them?

I like bananas, and so do most people.  And although there are many types of bananas, most of us are familiar with the common yellow seedless banana, also known as a “dessert” banana, because it is very sweet when ripe.  I’m also very fond of plantains, often referred to as “cooking bananas” – they can be eaten raw, but are much better cooked; I love to fry thickly sliced, ripe plantains in a little butter and serve them with Mexican dishes.

Bananas are a marvelous addition to almost any food budget; they are availalbe year round, reasonably priced, of consistent quality, easy to peel and eat and are an excellent source of potassium.  I buy them all the time, if for no other reason than they are one of  the two fruits (the other being apples) that The Young One will eat.  But even with their popularity in our household, we have the occasional banana or two that sits on the counter getting a little more ripe than we’d like.  This recipe is a good use for them.

Note: You can omit the nuts if you don’t like them or have a nut allergy; they can also be baked as muffins – just reduce the baking time to 20 – 25 minutes.

Banana Bread

8 servings

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 large, very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F; grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ (6-cup) loaf pan.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt baking soda and baking powder.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until lightened in color and texture, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Beat in the flour mixture gradually until blended and the consistency of brown sugar.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended.

Fold in the bananas and nuts, if using, until just combined.  Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and spread evenly.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to completely on the rack.

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