We went to a once a month market that sold clothes and other knick-knacks this past weekend and at the back were the food sellers (majority selling baked goods) and this young man had a stall piled with very attractive-looking, rustic and authentic items such as croissants, pannetone and banana bread. But much to our surprise, a whole loaf of banana bread was going for $25! Mind you, it was a very sexy and large banana bread but I thought…”wow!” At home, I whip up banana bread so fast that I couldn’t imagine any banana bread being worth that much money. Now I wish that I had bought a slice of it to see how good it was…next month perhaps.
I always keep bananas in my freezer ready to defrost and make into banana bread. It started out one year with a market stallholder selling me 10 kilos (22 pounds) of bananas for $2AUD at the end of the day!! We put two in a snack Ziploc bag and froze them – over a year later, we’re still eating them!
My standby foolproof banana bread recipe is an adaptation from the American Sunset magazines classic cookbook first published in 1963 called “Breads”. It takes me less than an hour and a half from the prep to the baking and it tastes divine toasted under the grill with lashings of butter. My recent find has been ground nut meals at the Wayville Sunday market and have been topping my banana bread with ground walnut meal as well as in the batter. The extra oils and texture add an extra dimension and crunch.
Foolproof Banana Bread
2 cups flour OR 1 2/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup walnut meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp each baking soda & salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
Chocolate chips are optional
In a bowl, stir together flour, nut meal (if using) baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and nuts until thoroughly blended. In a separate bowl, combine bananas, milk, egg and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until well blended. Pour batter into a greased 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch (10 x 20 cm) loaf pan. Sprinkle top of loaf generously with walnut meal and/or chocolate chips if desired.
Bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 1 1/4 hrs or until bread begins to pull away from sides of pan and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Makes one large loaf.