Good banana bread recipes are common but this one is heady with banana and vanilla and more than a little bit good.
And shhh! It’s low fat.
But I promise, no one will guess from the taste.
My Dad asks for it special, toasted and unbuttered – and he’s one of those Greatest Generation Guys who slathers butter on most everything.
Most quick breads (‘quick’ is what we call loaves leavened with baking powder or baking soda not yeast) call for a stick of butter, eight whole tablespoons. This recipe calls for just one tablespoon of the more healthful unsaturated fat in vegetable oil.
The trick to SHHH or any other banana bread is patience, for the bananas must be very, very, VERY ripe.
Even the ripest ones from the grocery store must sit untouched for ten days or more to gather the soft sweetness that imparts banana essence. They’re not baking-ready until they’ve turned brown, almost black, all over.
And here’s a second trick, one I learned just last fall. It takes planning ahead but is then perfect for impatient bakers.
Once in awhile, the grocery sells bags of slightly riper bananas on the cheap. Buy one or two and let the bananas ripen to that brown-almost-black stage. Put them, still in their skins, in freezer bags and freeze. When you feel the urge for banana bread, thaw three or four for an hour, then slip the almost syrupy fruit out of the skins for mixing.
SHHH BANANA BREAD
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time-to-table: 90 – 120 minutes
Makes 16 slices
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon table salt
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Mix the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer for 5 minutes, then mix in the bananas, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
(Caution: Incoming unorthodox shortcut.) Dump the dry ingredients onto the batter without mixing in. With a spoon, lightly combine them right on top but still without incorporating into the wet batter. Now use the mixer to combine the dry ingredients and wet batter but just until barely combined. (Too much mixing will create small holes in the bread when it bakes.)
Turn the batter into a well-greased bread pan and bake for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn onto a rack to finish cooling. Slice and serve! And shhh! No sharing our low-fat secret!
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