Great Grandma’s Banana Bread

So, I actually made this bread last week, it took me this long to get this post up. Needless to say, since school started again I have less time to blog. If I could somehow blog safely from the car, I’d write much more. In fact, it would be blog city considering how much time I spend in the car. The Southern Minnesota Triangle is well traveled these days.

 Though I am only a novice baker, and my cooking skills really work better on improvisation, I chose this family recipe for my first cooking blog. Its really easy and fast. It is also a great solution for those brown bananas you don’t get around to eating during the 20 minutes when they aren’t too green and not yet mushy. When I see a brown banana in the fruit basket I toss it in the freezer and it is good until the day I get around to baking.

This family recipe is from my Great Grandmother Julia via my Mom. It’s a classic, and hands down the best banana bread out there.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2-3 mashed brown bananas
2 well beaten eggs
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 – 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

The original recipe calls for shortening instead of butter. Since vegetable shortening is nearly 100% hydrogenated oils (trans fat), I will not touch the stuff. In fact, it should be illegal. Butter, though it is saturated fat, is much healthier than trans fat. It also tastes better.

In a large mixing bowl cream together the sugar and room temperature butter as much as possible. Add your bananas and mash them into the mixture. Use 2-3 depending on their size. There is no need to get it exactly right, Martha. Next, make a well in the mixture and crack your eggs into it. This way you can beat the eggs before you add them totally to the mixture without having to use another bowl. Add the vanilla and milk to the eggs, and incorporate everything together well.

In a separate bowl combine your dry ingredients (flour, salt, soda, nuts). Mix well to spread the salt and soda evenly throughout the flour.

 
Now, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently mix them together just until all the flour is incorporated. Don’t over mix, or your bread will be tough. Now comes my second change to the recipe. The chocolate chips! Everything is better with chocolate chips right? Just mix them around evenly in the dough. 
  
For the baking, I’m going to give really vague instructions and trust you to figure it out. Sorry, this is why I am not an awesome baker. Set the oven to 350 degrees. This is when I will go all Martha, and urge you to make sure you have an oven thermometer. It is amazing how far off oven temps can be. It can make a big difference in the consistency of your bread, cookies or whatever if the temp it off. You can either make one large loaf, or two smaller loafs from the dough. I usually make two, it seems to last longer that way. Make sure to grease the pans with butter or non-stick spray. The baking time will be anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on the size of your loaf pans and how much dough is in them. Just keep and eye on it. When the top of the loaf is golden and starting to crack a little, it is probably done. Stick a tooth pick in the center If it comes out clean, the bread is done. Remember, the bread will continue to cook a little even after it comes out of the oven, especially if you leave it in the pan. 
Once you have had your fill of the warm, crunchy and gooey bread, refrigerate the remaining. I’ll often freeze a loaf in hopes of giving it away, or saving it for a rainy day. It’s usually gone in a matter of days. 
Enjoy! 
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