Thursday, April 26, 2007

Best Banana Bread Ever, Naturally

This weekend I gave Phil 36 hours alone in the house and took the boys to Columbus, Ohio, to rough it up with my brother's two boys. With a suburban house hosting a 10-, 6-, 5-, and 2-year-old male, there was a lot of pee-wee testosterone this weekend, believe you me.

My parents were also there for the weekend, having driven in from Michigan to grandkid-sit while my my brother and his wife escaped to a bed and breakfast to celebrate their 15th anniversary. With a baby on the way in about three months, this is likely their last weekend away until August of 2023.

The kids pretty much entertained themselves, so at some point my mom and I took a jaunt to a natural foods store (called the Raisin Rack, isn't that cute?) to stock up on bulk millet and fair-trade tea. When we got home, I set to work on a pile of browning bananas with plans to save them from the compost heap. Not having expected to make banana bread over the weekend, and not having my favorite banana bread recipe (from the out-of-print Cook Something) with me, I headed online. At I found a recipe I liked and then doctored it up a bit. It was delicious, if I do say so myself, and is now going to be my go-to recipe for banana bread. The natural cane sugar, which isn't stripped of molasses like white sugar is, added a little complexity, and the whole-wheat flour added some heft and a little nuttiness. If you don't have a line on sucanat, just use regular brown sugar.

Raisin Rack Banana Bread

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sucanat (non-refined cane sugar)
1 egg
5 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3-1/2 to 4 or so)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the two flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl (like, say, the bowl of a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and milk and mix together. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar concoction just until mixed; don't overdo it. Now throw in the bananas and mix until they're incorporated, but don't stir so hard and so long that you totally anihilate them; some big chunks remaining is nice.

Pour into a lightly greased 9 X 5-inch loaf pan. Bake for about an hour -- until a knife or skewer inserted into it comes out clean. Smile demurely when your nephews ask for a second piece.

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