Step 1 - Turn oven on & set for to 350 degrees. I have a really small oven so this temperature might vary for you!
Step 2 - Mix 3/4 cup of sugar & 1/2 cup of butter (I use margarine because it mixes so easy). Never mind the fact that I have 1-3/4 cup of sugar in this picture - I'm a total dork. Fortunately I'm making a double batch this time so I only had to dig out 1/4 cup of sugar from the bowl after throwing these two ingredients in together!
Of course this meant I needed to double up my butter too so I had to do that in two steps...did I mention I was a dork (insert mental head smack here). BTW, I love love my Pampered Chef measuring thingie - it's liquid on one side & solids on the other...and after you fill the solid side you just slide the liquid part to push out the butter. Stir butter & sugar until it is well mixed - like the consistency of really soft & creamy peanut butter. Also love my PC scraper spatula which is just flexible enough to get stuff out of a cup, but strong enough to not bend when mixing heavy stuff.
Step 3 - Add two eggs. I like to break my eggs into a separate dish first. I'm a bit squeamish because one time I saw something in an egg that I didn't like...so I always like to "see" my egg before I use it. It's also handy to do it this way in case a piece of shell makes it's way into the mix (not that this ever happens to me!).
Again, I'm making a double batch so there are four eggs in the picture! And that's also my cup of tea in photo - I like to "drink" while I bake.
Step 4 - Add 1/3 cup of milk (we use 2% but I'm sure any old kind will do) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Here's where I deviate from the original recipe (and I'm told this is "my secret" to good banana bread), always spill a little extra vanilla. And you should always use "real" vanilla - not that artifical stuff. It's just not as tasty.
Step 5 - Mush up 1 cup of bananas - this is about 2 medium 'nanas. It's okay to go two-anda-half or three if you've got extras. In this case, we've got four (cuz we're doing the double batch, like I need to keep mentioning this??). It's best to use already smushy ones - if you want to use hard ones (read: not really ripe), then the mushing part will be more work. I like to dump these into a separate bowl and use a potato masher. This is also a good job for kids - albeit, I wouldn't let mine help today because I made it a requirement that they get dressed first - you can see how successful this request was.
If you're a nut-lover, you can also add 1/2 cup of nuts at this point (like walnuts). We don't because we have a nut allergy in our house...turns out, he's not allergic to walnuts, but I'm not about to change my recipe now!).
Step 6 - After all that other stuff is well mixed, it's time to add the dry
stuff ingredients. Take 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (this is apparently optional, but I've never done it without). I mix the baking soda & salt into the flour before mixing it into the wet ingredients. I don't know if baking soda ever goes bad..or if the age of your baking soda can make a difference in your baking - but our baking soda is really old. We bought it a (I don't know how) long time ago and put it in a stay fresh container and I just keep using it a teaspoon at a time. Lets just say we haven't had to purchase any baking soda for YEARS.
Step 7 - Always check the bottom of your mixing bowl to see that all the dry ingredients are completely mixed. It's really icky to be pouring this into pans and then find a big chunk of flour at the bottom (not to mention you'll have the wrong mixture at the end so the last loaf will be really flour-y...another technical term). See the white parts, that's the un-mixed flour.
Step 8 - Another (not so) secret step is spray cooking oil inside the pans and then sprinkle sugar onto the oil. Some people like to flour their pans - I like sugar (note: that's the rescued 1/4 cup of sugar) . Then pour the (well) mixed batter into pans.
Step 9 - Put filled loaf pans into the middle of the heated oven for 30 minutes. My larger mini-loaf pan needs 35 minutes and the regular size loaf pan needs 50-60 minutes total. To test to see if they're finished I insert a butter knife all the way into the middle and if it comes out clean - they're done. If it comes out gooey then I put them back in for a few more mins. Some people think a little gooey-ness in the middle is good - but I don't like raw batter.Step 10 - Once they're done, let them cool on a drying rack - you might need to let them cool in their pan for a few minutes - but don't leave them in there because then they will get stuck (whereas mine pop right out because of the cooking oil & sugar). You might need to take the butter knife & go around the edges to loosen the edges.
Step 11 - ENJOY!
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of butter (softened)
- 1/3 cup of milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla (use the "real" kind & spill it a little)
- 1 cup of bananas (about 2 medium ones - make sure they're good & ripe)
- 1/2 cup of nuts (optional)
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)
Mix sugar & butter until completely mixed. Add milk, eggs, vanilla and smashed bananas. Mix well. Add nuts if desired.
Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Add to wet ingredients.
Mix well and then pour into prepared loaf pans (prepared w/ cooking spray & sprinkled sugar).
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes for mini-loaf pans or 50-60 minutes for regular size loaf pans.
Let cool on a drying rack (not in the pans).
P.S. You're welcome to use a big mixer for this - but take it from me, it's not as good that way. It smoothes out all the lumps and it just doesn't taste the same w/out banana lumps!