Procrasti-baking has become one of my favorite activities. If I have a deadline that is still days away, wedding details to finalize or thought pieces to write, procrasti-baking is my “go to.” I like to think that it helps my creative process by engaging one part of my brain on something fun while the rest of my brain can work out whatever issue I’m avoiding. It’s either that or I just really enjoy baking. Possibly both.
Anyway, I grabbed my mother’s “New Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book” (which I think she got as a gift when she got married in 1965) and started looking for something that would use up our rapidly aging bananas. We have a goal of zero food waste. While that isn’t always possible, projects like this do help. I landed on their tried and true Banana Bread Recipe under Tab 4, page 71 for “Breads.”
Now, some things have changed since 1965. For instance, the word “shortening” gave me momentary pause. But overall, this recipe, with some minor adjustments for dietary restrictions, still sings.
Ready to make banana bread so good that you’ll eat it all in under 36 hours (which we totally did)?
Ingredients (Original Ingredients/My Alternatives)
- 1/3 cup shortening or 1/3 cup melted butter/Earth Balance*
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas or 2 mashed very ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup of sugar or 3/4 cup of sugar**
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or just a pinch of salt
- (Alt) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract***
* I need to be careful with dairy, so we switched to Earth Balance about a year ago. So far, I like it as an alternative to butter when baking, but some people prefer real butter.
** I’ve seen recipes that call for up to a full cup of sugar, and I’ve seen recipes that take it below a 1/2 of a cup. It’s really up to your personal taste. I look at this as an advanced sugar delivery system, so I tend to go for it and promise to eat something healthy later (much, much later).
***The original recipe also called for a 1/2 of a cup of chopped walnuts, but I like my banana bread to be nut-free. So, I ignored that, and instead, tossed in vanilla.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Find a pan that will work as a bread pan. Better Homes recommended a 9 1/2 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. If you have one, awesome! If not, don’t stress. You can fake it with a cake pan. I used a square cake pan that runs 7 1/2 inches along each side.
- Grease the pan with your butter/Earth Balance/ Other butter substitute.
- Drop your very ripe bananas into a mixing bowl and start mashing with a fork (or any implement that works for you). You do not need a mixer at any point.
- Pop the 1/3 cup of butter/Earth Balance into the microwave in a microwave-safe dish to melt.
- Add the melted butter/Earth Balance to your well-mashed bananas.
- Add in the baking soda, baking powder and salt. I went with a pinch of salt, but you can easily use up to ½ teaspoon.
- Beat your egg(s) in a separate bowl and then add them to the mixing bowl.
- Add in your desired amount of sugar.
- Add in the flour to your mixture and stir.
- If you are adding nuts, stir them into the mixture at this point.
- OR skip the nuts (as I did), and stir in the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
- Note: I wasn’t satisfied with the consistency, so I kept stirring for another minute or so to get the mixture as lump-free as possible.
- Pour your mix into the greased cake pan (or loaf pan, if you had one).
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until your toothpick tester pulls out clean. At our elevation, and using the relatively shorter cake pan, the bread was actually done around the 32-minute mark, so it’s a good idea to keep checking on it to avoid burning.
- Let the bread cool on a rack or protected surface.
Are you a procrasti-baker? What are your favorite recipes? I’d love to see your pictures if you try this one!