Remember when you were a little kid? It was a long day in the third grade. You got in trouble for talking when EVERYONE knew it was Johnny talking to you first, and then you had to sit at recess while all your friends played and had fun. You had tuna fish casserole for lunch instead of pizza, and Missy said you couldn’t come to her birthday party. You slumped off the bus in defeat and trudged home. Ahhhhh me . . . it’s a weary world.
But then . . .
You opened the door of your house, and you were greeted by the most amazing, cozy, warm smell you could imagine. There was your Mom– pulling a loaf of homemade banana bread out of the oven. Somehow, even smelling this classic comfort food could fix the hardest of days. And guess what? Classic banana bread still has those same magical powers to make you smile no matter how bad your day was, even as an adult. Shhhhh– don’t tell. Just make it. Like, now. 😉
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Classic Banana Bread
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. banana extract (lemon extract may be substituted if you don’t have banana. You’d be surprised, but it works)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top, optional
Cream softened butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, vanilla, and banana extract (may substitute lemon extract if you don’t have banana) and mix well. Mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Slowly mix in flour. Add in bananas, sour cream, and chopped nuts, if desired, and stir just until combined. Divide batter equally between 4 greased mini loaf pans (my pans are about 6×3 inches) and sprinkle with turbinado sugar for a little top crunch and sparkle, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 38-40 minutes, or until loaves spring back lightly when touched and pass the toothpick test. If you use different pans your bake time may vary.
Your house will be smelling deliciously “fallish” in no time! Let’s take a look at the process in pictures. 🙂
Remember when you were a kid, and you wanted to “cream” the mean old bully at recess?
Oh. You WERE the bully at recess? Pardon me . . . *awkward throat clearing*
haha. Just kidding. Anyway, don’t cream bullies. Cream butter and sugar. It’s easier, and there are yummy baked good at the end, vs. a trip to the office and a call to your mother. You’re welcome.
Cream your room temperature butter and sugars together until they come together and get a little lighter and fluffier. This mixture has twice as much sugar as butter, so the mixture won’t be as fluffy as you might be used to. But get it light and sticking together, as much as you can.
Next, add in your room temperature eggs and vanilla/banana extracts. Having room temperature ingredients just makes sure that everything combines NICE and smoothly. No wars on the playground on my watch!
If you don’t have banana extract, you can substitute extra vanilla extract, or even lemon extract. You’d be surprised, but lemon extract works somehow. It gives the bread just a hint of freshness that you can’t quite put your finger on. So throw in whatever you’ve got (well, within reason. Don’t throw your husband in there, even if you’ve got him . . .), and let’s move on.
Stir in your dry ingredients/spices, and then flour. Stir NIIIIIIICE and slow so you don’t end up singing “White Christmas” all over your newly flour-christened kitchen. Don’t stir flour on high, and don’t inhale while eating a funnel cake. Rules of life. You’re welcome.
Next, mix in your sour cream, mashed bananas, and chopped nuts, if you’re using them. I personally LOOOOOVE nuts, but some people don’t, so no worries. Go your own way and be free.
Divide your batter equally between 4 well greased mini loaf pans (the pans I use are about 6×3 inches). To make sure your batter is equal, I suggest using a cookie scoop. Voila. No more uneven or overflowing loaves. 😉 Sprinkle a little turbinado sugar over the top of the batter filled pans, if you want to add a little extra glitter and crunch to the top of your loaves. Edible glitter. I mean, seriously. Who doesn’t love that?
Throw your loaves into a preheated 350 degree oven (ok– don’t LITERALLY throw them), and I recommend always baking on a cookie sheet. The best of us can overflow our pans, sometimes. No. Not overflow our PANTS. You’re ridiculous today! Look at you picking apart everything I say! *mock huff*
Check your loaves after about 30 minutes, and rotate your pan to make sure the loaves are getting evenly browned. If they are getting too brown, cover lightly with foil and continue baking for another 8-10 minutes until the loaves spring back lightly when touched and pass “the toothpick test.” During this time, your house will smell AMAZING. I went outside to paint while these loaves were baking, and when I came back inside to check on them, the entire house smelled like the spirits of 1,000 grandmothers were working magic in the kitchen. Seriously. The smell is almost as good as the bread. YUMMMMMM.
When the loaves are done, plop them out of the pans and let them finish cooling on a cooling rack. Pour yourself a nice big glass of milk and cut a slice of warm, steaming banana bread. Savor every bite. This bread is better than any third grade birthday party, any day of the week. 😉
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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