Banana bread sized for the frugal baker
My parents lived through the Great Depression, and even after prosperity returned, frugality was a way of life in my home.
Along with keeping a close watch on electricity and water usage, my mother was very careful about not wasting food. After breading chicken, she would use any remaining egg to make a piece of french toast, which was a special pre-dinner treat.
Growing up, I never gave it much thought, but these practices became incorporated in my lifestyle, too. Wilted lettuce is revived with a cold water bath and a chill. Leftover pieces of meat find their way into a taco. My grandson is bemused that when cracking an egg I clean out any remaining egg white with my thumb.
As much as I try to avoid food waste, at some point or other two very ripe bananas begin to stare me down from the kitchen counter. Of course I blame my husband. Bananas are his fruit of choice. He is usually very diligent about eating them in a timely fashion, but I secretly suspect that he knows any stragglers will find their way into a banana bread.
Most banana bread recipes call for 3 or 4 bananas. The recipe below calls for exactly two. The other ingredients are also scaled down, to produce a smaller loaf so that the banana flavor is not dwarfed.
Light and moist, this banana bread is perfect for the thrifty baker.
Two Banana Bread
- 13/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare an 81/2-by-41/2-inch metal loaf pan by spraying with cooking spray, then lining the bottom and long sides with a sheet of parchment paper that extends about 1 inch over the sides, to use as handles to remove the loaf after baking.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the mashed bananas. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level the top. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is cracked and turning golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the baking pan, and take off the parchment paper. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at email@example.com.