|Especially tasty with a bit of sour cream.|
Oddly enough, I hate bananas. My mom used to make me eat one every day after school so that I wouldn't get cramps during track practice...and you can guess how that went once I arrived at practice with a rock of a banana sitting in my stomach. Hence my hatred of bananas. But! But! I am in love with this banana bread. It's the only banana-related thing I'll eat. And you know what? A whole high school track team also loved this banana bread. Granted, high school athletes will probably eat anything and declare it good, but still.
See, when I first started teaching, I was only three or four years older than my students, and definitely looked it. I really wanted my students to like me. I also had no life outside of school, since I was new to the area and hadn't made any friends yet. So one night a week, I would make myself feel better by baking up a storm. This eventually turned into making cookies for my students every time they had a test...which then morphed, like a monster out of my control, into baking enough banana bread for the entire track team every time they had a meet. Hence the quadruple batch at 2 am.
Enough history of the recipe in my life; here it is.
- 1 stick softened butter (if you melt it in the microwave, that's fine too; just mix it in veeeery slowly while whisking so that the eggs don't cook)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream (don't use non-fat...it'll be weird)
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed (easiest way to mash without mashing is to freeze and then thaw them: instant mush!)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or 176.7 degrees Celsius. Or 449.9 Kelvins. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients #1-7 until they are nicely blended. It should be yellow and very thick, but not too goopy. Then add ingredients #8-9 and stir gently (just the minimum necessary to get the batter smooth). At this point, you can add a couple handfuls of walnut pieces or chocolate chips (I prefer walnuts; the track team preferred the chips). Pour into a well-greased or parchment-papered loaf pan or 9" x 9" square baking dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven. It's done when an inserted toothpick/bamboo skewer comes out clean.
I know a lot of baking recipes call for fiddly bits like doing dry and wet ingredients separately, or merely softening the butter instead of melting it, but honestly, I've made it both the "proper" way and the easy way, and it turns out just fine with the one-bowl, fast-melt cheater method. This recipe is pretty robust in that way. At the end is a perfectly cake-y, moist (sorry, no other word describes it as well), dense-ish, banana bread with a pronounced crumb that holds its shape and is good for a week. It can be stored in an air-tight container at room temp or in the fridge and holds up well to reheating.