Bananas Around Here

I bought bananas last week for the express purpose of making banana bread, which I’ve been craving like nobody’s business. I’ve wanted it all summer, but this summer has been something else – a newish baby, putting our house on the market, keeping said house clean for showings, having it sell quickly, finding a house, trying to pack, etc. – so I buy bananas over and over again, let them get too ripe to eat, miss the window, and then either put them in the freezer or the trash. If I had a dollar for every banana I’ve wasted, well, I’d have some dollars. I also have a history of making less than tasty loaves, but I don’t lack perseverance and store-bought banana bread is gross. So yesterday was the day. Bananas? Check. Sort of. Two overripe and one in the produce drawer that might have crossed the line to rotten. Betty Crocker cookbook? Damn. Packed. Okay, find suitable recipe online? Check. Start batter. Loaf pans? F**K. Packed. Let’s go with a casserole dish! Buttermilk? What the heck? Who actually has buttermilk in the fridge. Go with the standby of a couple of tablespoons shy of a half a cup of skim milk topped off with vinegar. Mashed bananas. What? I needed a cup and a half of bananas? Well, even including the part-of-a-mostly-rotten third banana, I have just shy of a cup. So…let’s throw in some applesauce! I’m suuuure this is all going to turn out fine. Recipe for disaster. Okay, maybe not disaster, but not good food either.

Surprisingly, it was the best banana bread we’ve ever had under this roof. Who knew? High pressure cooking is apparently up my alley. Tomorrow the remaining pots and pans are getting packed. Might as well end on a high note.

(Original Recipe from the Betty Crocker website)

Lori’s Can’t Believe This Worked Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (60 seconds in the microwave on 20% power)
2 eggs
1 cups mashed very ripe bananas (Turns out clear rotten is cool too. I had three smallish bananas.)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup buttermilk (or “buttermilk”)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of a four quart casserole dish because your loaf pans are in storage.

2. Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, applesauce, “buttermilk” and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Pour into dish.

3. Bake a four-quart casserole dish 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Dump loaf out of dish, being surprised that it doesn’t fall apart. Plan to cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Scratch that idea and cut it immediately and slather with butter and ignore that your fingers are burning. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days. Or eat it all in one day like we did.

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