I don’t know, readers. Why I do feel so meh about everything I’ve cooked as of late? Why does this banana bread not make me want to skip through the fields with wild flowers in my hand? What I’m trying to say here is that I feel like this past week I’ve been kinda going through the motions. Nothing has excited me, not that things like peanut butter bars or banana bread are particularly thrilling in and of themselves.
But, I don’t know. Banana bread CAN be thrilling, right? I mean, when you don’t overcook it (WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME) and when it’s moist and dense and wonderful toasted with a glass of milk. And there’s nothing wrong with this one. In fact, if I hadn’t overcooked it, I might call it really f’ing lovely.
But things being what they are, it turned into regular ol’ banana bread, the likes of which you can find at any mediocre bake sale. Baking, I am finding, is like any relationship. Sometimes there are going to be really bleh periods, when maybe baking is working late all the time and by the time baking gets home you’ve already fallen asleep in front of the tv and baking doesn’t even bother to wake you up because it’s been a long week, woman. But you have to push through those and find the aspects of it that make it all worth it to you.
So here I am, pushing through the ennui of it all. And then I’m going to make something and it’s really going to speak to me, and I’m going to fall in love with baking all over again, and it’ll all be puppy dogs and rainbows and honeysuckle and the smell of the grass after a spring rain. For now, here’s a pretty decent banana bread recipe. You should make it.
from How to Cook Everything
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, plus some for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork (I used 3 1/2)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup grated dried unsweetened coconut (I used wheat germ here instead. why? because I did)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
Mix together the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and beat in the eggs and bananas. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients; do not mix more than necessary. Gently stir in the vanilla, nuts, and coconut.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread will come out fairly clean when it is done, but because of the bananas this bread will remain moister than most. Do not overcook (thanks, Mark). Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. To store, wrap in waxed paper.