I often wonder if Wonderful Wally purposely buys more bananas than the two of us can eat in a week in hopes that Nana will bake some Banana Nut Bread using the last of the bunch which have become too soft and unappealing to be used for anything else.
Nana’s favorite recipe is one from Recipes and Reminiscences of New Orleans, a cookbook purchased in 1972 when I visited the French Quarter for the very first time. I referred to this recipe and several others in the ’70s and ’80s frequently; so it was little surprise to me that I remembered the page number (138) after all these years. Now that I am back into the habit of baking this quick-and-easy breakfast or dessert bread, the ingredients and simple directions are once again memorized. Nana’s only deviation is the substitution of walnuts for the pecans, and I occasionally forget (senior moment) the pinch of salt. It’s never missed.
Another note, the batter makes four nicely rounded mini-loaves, while divided between two traditional-sized loaf pans is a little on the skimpy side. The other advantage to smaller loaves is always having a couple of extras for sharing with neighbors or best friends.
Banana Nut Bread
(Mary Alice McKay)
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, margarine or shortening
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 level teaspoon baking soda (in a few drops water)
1 pinch salt
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
2 or 3 bananas (very ripe and mashed with a fork)
Cream butter and sugar; add eggs and cream together. Add bananas and salt, then add baking powder to flour and pour gradually into mix. If you use nuts they should be added next and lastly soda. Mix well and divide into two loaves. Bake in greased loaf pans or dishes at 325 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes – test with a straw. (Nana uses a toothpick.) Garnish with slices of bananas, cherries or glazed fruit.
Nana rarely adds a garnish unless serving as a dessert. Then, in addition to slices of banana arranged on top of a warmed slice, special raspberry syrup I’ve only been able to find at our local Winn Dixie is drizzled in moderation. Winn & Lovett is the brand. After that, a layer of warmed chocolate glaze is dribbled – Duncan Hines Amazing Glazes, found in the cake mix aisle. A dollop of whipped cream finishes off this simple, quick and calorie-laden anytime treat. Actually, this may be the real reason Wonderful Wally buys extra bananas.
Glenda Mink, a self-taught copycat who learns from others, is now officially retired after 22 1/2 years with Polk County government. She co-operates her oldest son’s successful publishing company with soul mate (now also retired) Wonderful Wally. Nana to two teenage grandchildren, Cameron and CayLeigh, she describes herself as an “expert on nothing,” but hopes readers will find inspiration and a few good ideas from re-invented projects for use around home and garden, along with musings about this and that.