Improving on a Classic


My family does not do a great job eating bananas. We seem to buy some almost every week, but a week rarely goes by when we actually finish a bunch before it turns brown.

So I have several go-to banana bread recipes, including one that’s been in my mom’s family now four generations. The original was passed down to me via the church cookbook from the church my mom went to when she was a kid (and where my grandpa was a deacon). It’s ind of a funny recipe because it’s little more than an ingredient list. The instructions don’t tell you when all the ingredients should be put in, and the instruction “bake 30 minutes to 1 hour” doesn’t really help much.

I’ve tinkered with this recipe a lot over the years, adding wheat flour and spices, using buttermilk (instead of the called-for sour milk, always made in my house growing up by adding lemon juice to regular milk) and Egg Beaters instead of real eggs.

But last week I decided to go all out and see what I could get away with toward making this a healthier recipe, and I think it turned out really well. The girl even ate it without complaint, and it made for days of healthy snacks and breakfasts in seconds, which is always a good thing.

I didn’t take pictures while I was making the bread because I didn’t know how it would turn out, but I imagine you all know how to make quick breads, anyway.

Banana Bread
Sorry, I ate a little before I took the picture.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  •  1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs or equivalent egg substitute
  • 3 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie or pumpkin pie spice, or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flax meal or wheat bran (I meant to use the bran but I found flax meal first)
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped, optional (I usually use pecans or walnuts)
  • 3 small loaf pans

What You’ll Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray loaf pans with cooking spray or oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl (you could use a mixer, but I never do), combine sugar and melted butter.
  3. Add milk and eggs and mix well.
  4. Add mashed bananas and mix.
  5. If you’re the sifting sort, sift the flours with the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flax or bran.
  6. Otherwise, just dump all the dry ingredients in and stir until they’re almost all incorporated.
  7. Add the nuts and stir until all the flour is mixed in.
  8. Divide into 3 loaf pans and put in the center of the oven.
  9. I bake mine about 45 minutes, but your experience may vary. They’re done when a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Take out of the oven and let cool about 10 minutes before turning out of pans onto cooling rack.
  11. Try to let them cool completely before eating. I know, it’s hard.
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