Monday, August 29, 2005

Today is Banana Bread Day

I bought a bunch of bananas last Wednesday, and essentially forgot about them, so I am on a banana bread making spree today. I have found with my banana bread that although it is fabulous fresh- it is even better after it has had the opportunity to sit in the freezer. For some reason the freezing process makes the banana bread super moist and super flavorful. Go figure! Anyway, since tonight's supper is a fabulous rendition on macaroni and cheese out of a box, I thought I should share my banana bread recipe.

It's important when you make banana bread this way to keep the buttermilk and baking soda separate until the last possible minute. When those two combine, they create a chemical reaction that adds leavening to the quick bread. This works quickly- hence the term quick bread. For this reason I mix the dry ingredients together separately from the wet ones. And always make sure to sift your baking soda- there is nothing worse than enjoying a lovely slice of banana bread and hitting a lump of baking soda with your tongue. Blech. Here is my tried and true recipe- and do give the freezing a try- you won't believe how much better it is after it's been in the freezer. I like to have several loaves in the freezer all the time anyway- it makes for a quick addition to a meal when company shows up unexpectedly. Just make sure you double wrap the bread for freshness. I like to wrap it in heavy duty foil and then pop it into a large Ziploc Freezer bag. Make sure you label the bag to prevent UFO's (unidentifiable frozen objects).

Banana Bread

1 stick margarine or butter- room temperature
1 1/4 C. sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 C. mashed ripe banana (about 3-4 medium bananas)
1/2 C. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 C. chopped walnuts (if desired)- occassionally I will add chocolate chips as well

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Grease bottoms only of two loaf pans

3. Combine butter and sugar, mixing well. Add eggs, mis in thoroughly. Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla.

4. In a seperate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir well to evenly distribute.

5. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. Fold in nuts, if desired. Divide mixture into two loaf pans and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. Time will depend on the size of your loaf pans.

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