Although I typically wouldn’t make bread, pizza, or fresh pasta on a miserably damp winter day, nothing motivates the goodie baker in me more. This morning there were three over-ripe bananas in the fruit bowl. Much as I don’t mind them, Hubby likes his bananas firm and even a few speckles put him off. So I regularly intervene to save any that he’d be tempted to toss. I often freeze them for future baking. You don’t even have to wrap them—they will turn black but will be fine in cake, bread, muffins, whatever. But today, banana bread was calling out to me.
Lately, my go-to-cookbook is Canadian Living magazine’s The Ultimate Cookbook. Canadian Living is the only magazine I follow online. I found it a few years ago, while doing some destination research for one of our trips to Quebec, and have been a huge fan ever since. The recipes are interesting, relatively easy, and reflective of Canada’s multi-faceted cultural heritage. Just an aside: if you knit or crochet, you’ll also find great free patterns on that site as Canadians, of course, need to keep warm!
This banana bread recipe is distinctive for two reasons: #1, It contains buttermilk. If I had Hermione Granger’s magic wand, I would put a bottomless carton of buttermilk in every fridge. It’s cheap, it lasts for weeks, and it is pure MAGIC for cakes, biscuits, and, of course, fried chicken. #2, You don’t just add the buttermilk—you soak the mashed bananas in it before combining the ingredients.
The recipe, which I’ve copied for your convenience with the website link below, suggests chocolate chips or cinnamon as variations. You could do neither and it would still be very good. I added King Arthur Flour’s Vietnamese Cinnamon (try it and you will eschew ordinary cinnamon forever), grated orange rind, and the last half cup of golden raisins leftover from holiday baking.
Tender Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
2-1/4 cups flour (I used about a third KAF white whole wheat flour with all-purpose)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
[1/2 tsp cinnamon – recommended variation]
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
[1 tbsp grated orange rind – my addition ]
[1/2 cup raisins – my addition]
[Preheat oven to 350 F – my addition; I hate it when the oven temperature’s at the end.]
Stir together bananas, buttermilk, and baking soda. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt [and cinnamon].
In large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until combined. [Note: I used my Kitchenaid.] Beat in egg, vanilla, and banana mixture. Stir in flour mixture until combined. [Stir in orange rind and raisins.] Scrape into greased 9×5″ loaf pan.
Bake at 350 F until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. 60-70 minutes.
Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely.