the humble banana is my favorite of fruits. instant energizer coupled with instant gratification. and as a child, this was only corroborated in watching of both sportsmen and women snack on a banana between their games in a tennis match. bananas wouldn’t really last that long enough for them to be consumed in cooked form, but if and when they did, which was such a shame, my mum would make something of them, such as these simple breakfast pancakes from whole wheat flour, fresh grated coconut, mashed bananas, milk and sugar. or tea-time banana fritters (ripe plantains, sliced and dunked in a batter made from flour, water and sugar, pan-fried, think caramelized fried plantains, an absolute caribbean delicacy). or fried dumplings from a batter of rice flour, coconut milk, mashed bananas, jaggery or palm sugar with a hint of cardamom, for dessert. yes, i was spoilt for choice.
i do occasionally indulge in banana fritters and pancakes, but what really makes me happy is banana quick bread. “bread” ‘coz it’s baked in a loaf pan and “quick” ‘coz that’s just implied. sometimes i buy a bunch of bananas and resist eating them until they’re all freckled and brown just so they could be turned into banana bread. and well, it isn’t always a long wait. especially during the summers, when they can ripen really fast.
did you know?
eating a banana can cheer you up! bananas are the only fruit that contain amino acid tryptophan plus vitamin B6, which together help the body produce serotonin – a natural chemical that acts like a stress buster.
my basic banana bread recipe is a no-brainer, 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, half a cup butter or oil, 2 large eggs, a tsp of baking soda and of course, the key ingredient, mashed bananas, 3 large ones, or more!
over the years i’ve tweaked the proportions for that extra moistness and flavour. but no matter what you do, you can’t really go wrong with this. ‘coz it’s that simple. and if you still do, then you’re just acting on purpose! there’s no creaming of butter and sugar required here, just mixing of dry and wet ingredients separately and then folding the dry into the wet. that’s about it.
this recipe makes a size smaller than the traditional loaf, but it’s one i’ve used so many times, it’d be so wrong if i did not make a mention. i also had these sold at a bake sale once and they were all gone in no time. “i don’t like banana bread”, said no one ever!
this time around i had bananas that had gone so ripe, they were almost a golden nectar when peeled. it was then that i knew, the moistest banana bread ever, was waiting to be baked! i used Dominique Ansel’s banana bread recipe and the result was a buttery banana-loaded moist cake with a crust that alone was instagrammable.
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups or 240g flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 large, overripe bananas, mashed
195g, unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
start off by preheating the oven to 180 deg celsius. grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. in a separate, larger bowl, beat the eggs together and add the mashed banana, sugar and melted butter. fold in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake until golden brown, or until a long toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. this took about an hour and 10 minutes. once done, take the loaf pan out of the oven and leave it on a rack to cool for 5 or 10 min. unmould the cake from the pan and continue to leave on the rack to cool completely before slicing. this was baked late evening and left overnight on my kitchen counter wrapped in foil to be sliced the morning after. it works for all cakes! every time!
you could easily substitute butter for oil, here are some recipes that have been tried and tested with oil.
despite oil altering the taste a tad bit while still retaining moisture, i do believe it to be a healthier option if you happen to be a rabid baker. but unlike me, where i have only so many days such as these when i put on my apron and bake, i guess, butter is my only consolation. so i would stick to butter. ‘coz if there’s no butter/fat, no dairy and no sugar, it’s no good, throw it out! no prizes for guessing who said that.
so next time when you’re in a dilemma over not knowing whether to freeze overripe bananas and blitz them the day after for a breakfast smoothie or throw them away, hold your horses and bake this banana bread. chances are, you may never look at overripe bananas, the same way, again.