If you travel as much as I do, you quickly get used to doing without when it comes to kitchen utensils and appliances. Every time I arrive somewhere new I do a “back-of-the-envelope” analysis of what equipment I have and therefore, what recipes I can cook. I never leave home without my chef’s knife and an electric thermometer, but after this trip I’ll add a spatula and a pair of scissors to that list (boo to the owners of this supposedly fully-furnished condo who overlooked such simple, but crucial, tools). You learn to make do with turning a tupperware upside down to use as a butter dish, or toasting each slice of bread twice when faced with a ridiculously small Mexican toaster (once for each half of the bread). The upside is finding a beautiful serving platter that you covet, a crystal water pitcher to use (this makes me feel very fancy) or using a mishmash of delightfully odd tableware. So I thought it was a stroke of good luck when I decided to make Banana Bread and lo-and-behold, the only measuring cups I could find were a 1-cup and a 1/3-cup. Not counting the teaspoons (which I just muddled through using a small soup spoon), this recipe mercifully only calls for those two measurements!
This recipe came from my Grandma but I wouldn’t be surprised if it owes its roots to The Joy of Cooking, since that seems to be everyone’s measuring stick for Banana Bread recipes. I like this recipe because it’s simple and forgiving. You have the option of using full sugar, or part sugar and part substitute (such as honey or agave syrup). Also, if you have two bananas, great… If you have three bananas, even better. And feel free to add chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, whatever you’re craving, or don’t add anything. Did I mention it’s moist and delicious (let’s be honest here, this isn’t a wholesome fruit bread, it’s cake in square slices).
Use only very ripe bananas for the best results. Since it can be hard to find them at the grocery store (I should hope), I have a few brownish/black bananas in the freezer at most times, ready to be defrosted and used in this recipe. The overripe and defrosted bananas almost ooze a bit of syrup that I’m sure enhances the flavor.
4-5 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2-3 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup sugar or 1/4 c. sugar + ½ c. honey or agave
1 1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
¾ c. walnuts/pecans/chocolate chips/dried fruit (optional)
Preheat oven to 350℉/175*c
Mix first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk dry ingredients together in another bowl.
Add flour mixture gradually to wet mixture, just until combined (avoid the urge to overmix), then add nuts or dried fruit last.
Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake about 50 minutes. The important thing is that you bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. So if you only have a pie tin or a muffin tin, bake for about 30 minutes.
Let loaf cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cutting board to cool completely.