My mom always made Banana Nut Bread for Christmas – kind of an assembly-line thing because so many people expected it – no really lots of people – including me. Thankfully, I did get the recipe from her, but never made until after she died. It’s an odd kind of connection because when I smell it and taste it, it’s like nothing has changed. But I know it has.
I make it every Christmas and also anytime when I go to see my Dad because no one else makes it. I do think he enjoys it, but I wonder if it’s bittersweet for him because it’s not for me. It really makes me happy. It is one of those recipes that I thought to keep to myself, but I think sharing it is a better thing to do.
Funny thing – I don’t like or eat bananas (I so want to say this like a Minion – totally) – but I love this bread. Strange? Totally, but there it is. And here’s the big secret – what you have to do is this: bake the bread – stash half in the fridge and the other half in the freezer for later (in foil of course) and then when you’re ready for some breakfast, turn the broiler on and toast the bread till the edges are crunchy and the middle is toasted and then the best part – slather it with salted butter. Amazing. That is how my mom served it on Christmas morning. Every Christmas morning. And I still do that, but sometimes in June it is so amazing because it’s been about six months since Christmas and you have all the ingredients handy with the exception (for me) of bananas.
This month, I made some for my dad since we went over last week and since I had to slice the loaf in half, I didn’t think anyone would notice if one slice went missing. Damn, it was so good.
Oh, and recipe note – the bananas need to be really ripe (read: pretty much brown all over). Easy, buy bananas and just wait. Usually it takes about 3 regular-sized bananas.
The only problem I have is the temperature and time, which I have kept futzing with but I have still not come up with one that is perfect. So, depending on your oven you may just have to mess with this part – I do. But it’s worth it – no, really, it is. Still haven’t figured it all out yet, but when I do – I just might be a little bored. meh.
8 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
3 1/12 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I upped this – my mom only used 1 cup)
Grease and line a 9 x 5″ loaf pan with wax paper and spray again with baking spray. Sift the flour with the baking powder, salt and baking soda – typically, I do this on a piece of waxed paper. In the stand mixer, blend the butter and sugar together. Then add the eggs, one at a time until blended. Add the mashed bananas and blend until combined. Mix in dry ingredients. Add pecans and mix well.
Turn into loaf pan and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and increase temp to 350 degrees for 15 minutes.*
* totally not working for me, but I’ll add all my notes below.
* Notes: So my oven is calibrated correctly, and here’s the closest that I’ve come, but I would still advise that you check with a skewer.
300 degrees for one hour, than 340 degrees for about 25 minutes. This is the best I’ve gotten and it works pretty well.