Bananas are my favorite fruit, but they can be unpredictable in terms of how quickly they decide to ripen. Whenever I get bananas that are about to become inedible mush, I pull out this recipe for an easy snack, dessert, or breakfast. (Another useful trick is to peel the bananas and freeze them for later use.) This recipe for Banana Bread has been handed down on my wife's side of the family. I've altered it only slightly, incorporating Splenda® in place of sugar (as I am mildly diabetic) and throwing in walnuts for that healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids and a satisfying crunch.
Preheat your oven to 325°. Combine butter, Splenda®, and honey. Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix on low speed until the butter turns light and fluffy. (If you want, you can double up these ingredients and, once they're fully mixed, reserve half of the mixture for a sweet honey butter that you can spread over the finished bread later!)
One at a time, add the eggs, mixing on low speed until fully incorporated.
Peel the bananas and put them into a separate bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the bananas until it reaches the look and consistency of baby food. In fact, this mush makes a pretty good baby food, provided your baby isn't allergic to bananas. Add the mashed bananas to the mixing bowl.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into the mixing bowl. Use a spatula to stir the mixture until it forms a batter. Do not overmix.
If the batter is dry and crumbly (as it probably will be), stir in the milk. Either way, once you have a nice, wet batter, fold in the walnuts.
Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray. Add the batter as evenly as you can, spreading it with the spatula to keep it smooth and even. Place the loaf pan in the oven.
After 50 minutes, take the bread out of the oven and poke a toothpick (or skewer) into the center. Pull it out slowly. If the toothpick comes out coated with wet batter, return the bread to the oven for another 5-10 minutes before you try again.
If the toothpick comes out relatively dry (it doesn't have to be perfect), turn the bread out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Carefully turn it over and let it rest for at least half an hour. Then slice, serve, and enjoy! You can refrigerate the leftover bread for up to a week, or freeze it for as long as six months.
-e. magill 11/11/2010
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