The bananas have to be very ripe for this recipe. Look for bananas that have brown spots on their peels and are soft to the touch. I usually like to bake banana bread as a way to use up the last few stragglers in a bunch. It’s a quick, easy, and delicious way to keep your bananas out of the garbage and in your family's tummies!
Regular old ripe bananas simply won’t do. Your bread will be dry and it frankly won’t taste much like bananas at all. Save your ripe bananas for slicing over your morning cereal or packing in your bag lunch.
If you use ripe bananas for banana bread, you might as well take your piping hot loaf out of the oven and dump it straight into the garbage. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time or the money to waste baking garbage bread. But if you’re the kind of person who enjoys feeding garbage bread to your garbage pail, then be my guest and use ripe bananas in your banana bread. It takes all kinds, I guess.
However, if you’re a true banana bread lover with even a single shred of sanity, you’ll want to use very ripe bananas.
You probably won’t be able to find very ripe bananas in your supermarket. You probably won’t even be able to find ripe bananas. In fact, grocery stores typically sell under ripe bananas that are still a little green in the stem, so that they’ll ripen up at your home, giving you the longest possible window to enjoy a nice, ripe banana.
Once, I purchased a whole bunch of already ripe bananas on accident and it nearly drove me mad. As soon as I realized my mistake, I began examining the bananas, trying desperately to determine how long they had been ripe and how much longer it would be until they turned. After about four hours of this, I began to have visual hallucinations where the fruits would appear to rapidly brown, wither, and rot right in my hands. Then, I felt as if was the banana and I was turning into rot.
I felt like I had to act fast. I wasn’t about to feed a bunch of garbage bananas to my garbage pail. I’m not that kind of person.
I saved three bananas for banana bread and in a panic, used the rest to make a banana feast for my family. I mashed them up to to make a marinade for banana steaks and used them to thicken a stock for banana soup. I rolled them into little balls, simmered them in tomato sauce, and served them over spaghetti. When my husband came home, he found me crumpled in a corner of the kitchen, stuffing the cavities of a whole platter of beautifully roasted cornish hens with bananas, raw and still in their peels.
My family hated the banana feast. After one bite of their banana burgers, my two little boys looked down at their plates, mumbled “Mommy must be mad at us” in unison, stood up, dropped their pants to their ankles, and took turns spanking one another’s bare bottoms with the banana skins from their dinner plates. My husband and I have never hit our children and to this day I’m not sure where they picked up this little routine, but I decided not to let them stop until they had cleaned their plates.
The banana bread, however, turned out perfectly. Moist and sweet and delicious. After the boys finished clearing the table and I calmed down with nice, cool head dunk in the kitchen sink, we had ours with scoops of vanilla ice cream and drizzles of maple syrup.
Simple Banana Bread
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.
Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.