It amazes me how many women in my age group no longer know how to cook. I'm not talking about opening a box or using the microwave, but actual from scratch cooking. Sadly, good home cooking is becoming a lost art. Most of the women I know in their 30's and younger have never made a loaf of bread from scratch or a cake that didn't use a box mix. Box mixes are convenient, but read the label and you will find quite a bit more than flour and sugar lurking in the ingredients.
Last night I discovered that I had a few overripe bananas. I did not want them to go to waste, so I decided to make a banana nut bread. This is the recipe I have used for years. I can't remember where it came from, but it is very simple and hasn't failed me yet.
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2-3)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven at 325.
Make sure your work area is clean and thoroughly wash your hands.
Bananas should be very ripe for the best banana flavor in your bread. Choose bananas that have speckled peels. These are the bananas I used last night.
In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients (minus the nuts, those go in last).
In a separate bowl, peel and mash bananas with a potato masher. The bananas should become very runny after this step. Think jarred baby food.
Add remaining wet ingredients to mashed banana and mix thoroughly.
Next, mix wet ingredients into flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. This is very important. Over-mixing will cause your loaf to turn out coarse and tough.
Gently fold in nuts. I used pecans because they are my favorite, but you can also use walnuts in the same quantity.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. It should look something like this.
Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow bread to cool for approximately 10 minutes in the pan, then gently turn loaf out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Banana bread freezes nicely. Simply wrap well in aluminum foil and then slide into a large Ziploc freezer bag to protect it from picking up any odors in your freezer.