I’m trying so hard to believe it’s fall! We had a break in the heat wave and I got all excited and then today, it’s 100 again. With an “I don’t care” attitude (and a bunch of ripe bananas) I decided I was making my Blue Ribbon Banana Bread, heat or no heat. It’s currently in the oven and I’m sweating like a pioneer pulling a plow, but it will be delicious all the same.
I won a blue ribbon for this recipe at the Idaho State Fair when I was about 11. The original recipe (that I entered at the fair) was my Great Aunt Harriet’s. I don’t remember much about her other than she scared me as a little kid, very abrupt and matter–of-fact, and as I’ve come to maturity apparently I have a lot of her traits. (She was a great cook, we’ll leave it at that.. 😉 )
I’ve adapted this version slightly, I’ve cut the sugar from the original 1 cup of white sugar to 1/2 cup of brown sugar which has a richer flavor and 1/4 cup of white sugar. The original recipe called for 1 cup of white sugar, but I’m partial to brown sugar’s richness. I think it adds another depth of flavor. And I find this plenty sweet, but if you want to make the State Fair version, use 1 cup regular, white sugar.
My dad used to get a little crazy with this recipe and add chocolate chips, or cranberries or raisins – yum, yum and yum. It’s really a staple recipe that you can change-up quite a bit and still have it turn out moist and flavorful.
- 2 Cups Flour
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ Cup White Sugar
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- ½ Tsp Baking Soda (yes both powder and soda)
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- ¼ Tsp Nutmeg (I use fresh ground)
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Vanilla
- 2 Eggs
- 3 – 4 Ripe Bananas Mashed
- 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (Optional) I didn’t use them this time as my husband prefers no nuts.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Even if it’s a non-stick pan like the type I used here, just hedge your bets and grease and flour it anyway. Wipe the pan with butter or oil and add about 1 Tablespoon of flour to the pan. Tap the flour around the pan (best to do this over the sink) until it has gotten in all the nooks and crannies, then turn it over and give it a good whack to knock out the excess flour. There, ready to go.
Combine dry ingredients (except for the nuts) and then set aside. In a second mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars together, then add the bananas and mash and stir until they are smooth, with no lumps. Add the vanilla and eggs. Mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Gently stir in the nuts if using. Pour the batter into your loaf pan and bake at 400 for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your oven, or until deep golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Don’t worry about the crack down the middle, that is what you want, that rustic loaf bursting with flavor. Do not over bake!
Cool slightly, run a butter knife around the sides to loosen and begin lifting the bread, then turn out of the pan. Serve warm with butter or for a weekend morning treat, consider making generous slices of this bread into French Toast. Decadent! x