"Are we going to eat these disgusting bananas or are we saving them as some kind of experiment?" asks Esquire in disgust.
Honestly, how many times do you have to tell men "when bananas go black, I make you delicious baked goods" before they remember to stop complaining about the yellow-to-black-banana process happening on the counter? Esquire always seems to be genuinely confused as to why I am not throwing away rotten fruit and then genuinely happy to hear that Banana Bread/Oatmeal Cups/Cookies/Cream Pie is in his future. My dad has done the same thing to my mom for as long as I can remember. "Is there a reason we are keeping these shriveled bananas?" Yes, guys. This isn't news. This is what you do with bananas.
Unless you have toddlers. Then you also buy bananas to serve whilst yellow.
Anyway- after assuring my confused law husband that I was keeping them for a very delicious purpose, I whipped up some banana bread.
My family's banana bread to be exact. Arguably the best banana bread recipe there ever was. I am a bit of a banana bread snob actually, entirely due to the fact that I was raised on this bread.
While having over-ripe bananas on your counter (or on top of your fridge, or wherever in the kitchen you can keep them at room temperature where you won't forget about them) is unappealing, this bread and countless other banana recipes are entirely worth it. The art of a perfectly aged banana is simple: as black and aged as possible...without anything growing on it. Once you have some other organism feasting on your fruit, it is really something you shouldn't bake with.
Anyway. This is the perfect bread. Please observe how the outside is golden brown and crusty. How the top has baked and split open in a lovely, rustic, manner that gives you a peek into the soft bread center. This particular loaf had nuts but, you can go plain, use chocolate chips, or any other mix in.
The thing that I believe makes this banana bread recipe the BEST there is...well, is the simplicity. There isn't a lot of sugar, enough to make it a treat but not too much to make it a banana cake. The bananas are on their own (no banana extracts!) so the banana flavor is natural and aromatic instead of overwhelming. It is just a truly great, fill the house with the smell, eat with whatever smear you prefer (savory cream cheese or sweet honey butter) bread.
My favorite way to devour the bread? Warm and with a spread of salted butter. The salty sweet and just from the oven melty buttered slice (or 15 seconds in the microwave late in the week, ha, authentic) is pure heaven.
I hope you enjoy this simple recipe just as mush as my family and I. As I said, I personally believe it to be the best. I don't even look at other banana bread recipes and, for anyone who follows me on pinterest, you know that I look at pretty much every recipe known to man and try my hand at it. This recipe doesn't need any altering though. Pure, homestyle, perfection.
-2/3 cup sugar
-1/3 cup soft shortening
-3 tablespoons soured milk (milk with lemon juice)
-1 cup mashed bananas
-2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-Optional additions: 1/2 cup nuts or chocolate chips
Pour into a greased pan. Let stand 20 minutes. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.