Putting those old ripened bananas to good use on a winter's day

Susan Manzke
All the ingredients for this time-tested recipe are all laid out and ready to  be blended together.

It is frigid outside so again I’m turning on my oven, getting ready to bake.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about making a loaf of yeast bread. Today you won’t need any yeast. This banana bread uses baking powder as its raising agent.

When Bob and I were married in 1973, a neighbor gave us a cookbook from the Mokena Homemakers. The front cover is long gone, along with many front pages, and the best recipes have splotches all over them.

I think some of the best cookbooks are those gathered as fundraisers by groups. In those collections, people shared their favorite family recipes. The one with my banana bread recipe looks ratty, after almost fifty years of use, but it is my favorite by far. Thank you, Mrs. Hunniford, for that special wedding gift.

Banana bread is on the menu because I happen to have bananas handy.

Bananas are a funny fruit. When they are over-ripe, they turn black and are perfect for banana bread. The trouble is that bakers don’t always have time to use them. To save this ingredient the too-ripe bananas can be frozen for future use.

Mashing a thawed banana is easy. They pretty much mash themselves—remember to use the whole mushy mess. Don’t drain away any of the liquid. It holds tons of banana flavor.

These thawed, once frozen bananas are mashed and ready to be added to the batter.

Start your baking project by warming your oven to 350 degrees F. The next step is very important. Lock all pesty cats out of your kitchen! At least that’s what I have to do. Right now they are trapped in the living room/dining room.

As soon as I start working in the kitchen both Car-E and Barn-E come from their corners to see what I’m doing. When I’m cooking they become especially interested.

Once all your cats are confined, get out your ingredients.

The original recipe used Crisco. I have replaced that with butter.

Cream together ½ cup of butter and one cup of sugar—Even though my butter was at room temperature it was too cold to cream well. I had to warm it up for 20 seconds in the microwave.

Next, add 2 eggs and continue creaming. Now add the mashed bananas. If using once frozen bananas your batter may be a dingy color.

In another bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, 2 ½ tsp baking powder, and ½ tsp salt. Add to egg mixture. (If you have the urge, add ½ cup chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips. Your choice.) I skipped these this time.

Pour everything into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Since I used butter instead of Crisco, my loaf turned a darker brown.

Susan’s finished loaf of banana bread cools on a wire rack.

As the banana bread finishes baking, your kitchen will be filled with yummy scents. Set it on a cooling rack. Don’t cut it until cool, about one hour. Then slice and enjoy.

Here’s the ingredient list:

½ cup Crisco or butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed bananas

2 cups flour

2 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips (optional) either ingredient makes the banana bread extra tasty.

 When I wrote about making that loaf of yeast bread, I said I’d write another column about making no-knead beer bread. After checking my records, I discovered I had written about that bread in November 2020. Because of that date, it was too early to reprint.

To find my recipe, you can use this link to connect to the original column. Good luck with all your baking.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aolcom;