I’m a mediocre cook and baker at best. I try hard, but I lack the basic techniques required to ever make something truly memorable. Dishes are often overcooked, and the alarm from the smoke detector is frequently a signal to my family that it’s time to eat.
The exception may be my banana bread. It’s probably the best thing I make, and it consistently turns out well. I’ve tried a few recipes over the years, but I still go back to the old standby – the recipe from page 57 of the classic Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.
This ain’t one of those healthy new-age banana breads, with wheat germ and sugar substitutes. This is an old-school recipe, with real butter, a full cup of white sugar, and basic all-purpose flour. It will make you fat, and it tastes great.
Here, without the permission of Betty or her publisher, is the recipe.
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of butter, softened
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
1/3 cup of water
1 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1. Heat oven to 350. Grease the bottom only of a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan.
2. Mix sugar and butter. Stir in eggs until blended. Add bananas and water; beat 30 seconds.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients just until moistened. (At this point, you can toss in a few chocolate chips if you’re so inclined).
4. Pour mixture into pan. Bake until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean (about 60 to 65 minutes).
5. Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove and cool before slicing.
I’ve added one step that I think elevates the recipe significantly – just before putting the pan into the oven, sprinkle white sugar on the top. It will bake into a sweet, shiny crust that contrasts nicely with the soft, moist loaf.