Banana Bread

My childhood is filled with memories of my mom making banana bread. I can still smell it baking when I remember going home after school. Mom made it so often not just because we loved it, but mostly because my brother and I would eat 4 of the 7 bananas in the bunch and leave the rest to rot the minute one fleck of brown appeared on the peel.

Our go-to recipe was submitted to the Floyd County Cowbelles’ Cookbook (1978) by Joyce Cook. We used that recipe so often that the cookbook now naturally opens to that page. Which is helpful when I’m in a hurry.

This is a great recipe for kids or novice bakers. I often use this recipe with the kids at the Rock Creek Montessori pre-school. All the kids, ages 18 months to kindergarten, can help. The bananas need to be mashed and this is perfect for the really young kids. The rest of the ingredients are simple to measure and mix together making it a great recipe for novice bakers or little hands.  It’s one of the first recipes that my oldest son, at age 8, made all by himself.

And the kids think it’s delicious!

Banana Bread

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 bananas

img_0646Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

Prepare a bread loaf pan by spraying it with a cooking spray or wiping it down with butter.  Don’t skip this step. There is nothing worse than going through all this trouble and having the loaf stick to the bottom of the pan and break apart as you pull it out.

Peel the bananas and put them on a plate. Use the back of a fork to mash them, making them as smooth as possible. You don’t want any chunks. (You can even use bananas that you have frozen and then defrosted.)

 

Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs and mix them in well. The batter should look light yellow and be fluffy.

Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour into the mixing bowl. Stir until the flour is mostly incorporated. The mixture will be very thick and almost like a dough. Add the milk and the bananas. Mix them in thoroughly. The dough will loosen and turn back into a batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Tap it firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles that might be trapped and then put it in the oven. Bake it for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

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When it is finished baking put the loaf pan on top of a cooling rack and let it cool down for 5 minutes. Then run a butter knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the loaf and turn it out of the pan. Turn it upright and let it cool on the cooling rack.

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Once the banana bread is cool use a serrated knife to slice the loaf into about half-inch slices. (Or even 2-inch slices. It’s your bread. You choose.)

Enjoy!

 

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Lately, I am on a quest to get more protein and healthy food in their body I wanted to make a cookie that would do both those things. They just seem to do better when they are fueled by healthy things. And E especially seems to need a lot of protein in his diet right now.

My kids love cookies. And they love bananas. I suspect them of being part monkey, but I can find any in the family lineage. Yet.  So, can I make a banana cookie that has extra protein?

My friend Brenda is a pretty darn good cookie maker. She comes from a long line of pretty darn good cookie makers. She gave me a banana cookie recipe awhile ago and I started wondering if I could add oatmeal to the dough to make it higher  in protein and have them be just as delicious.

Yummy Banana Oatmeal Cookies!
Yummy Banana Oatmeal Cookies!

The original recipe was a typical butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda, flour sort of affair.  I swapped in some oatmeal for some of the flour and some brown sugar for part of the white sugar to come up with this recipe…

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 c butter, softened

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c brown sugar

1 egg

1 t vanilla

2 mashed bananas

1/4 t salt

1 t baking soda

1 1/2 flour

1 cup oatmeal

Cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add the egg and the vanilla and mix together well. Then add the bananas.  Add the salt, baking soda, and flour.  Start to blend them – count to 10 and then add the oatmeal.  Once well blended let rest for 5-10 minutes. The oatmeal will absorb some of the liquid and you’ll end up with a firmer cookie.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 49.

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I tried them at 350 because that is what the original recipe called for, but I found they bake up rounder and not so flat at a higher temperature. I also chose to bake them on parchment paper. I don’t think they need it. I think an ungreased, non-stick cookie sheet will give the bottom more of a browning and crisping.  They also feel a little “banana bread-like” and not so “crispy-cookie-like”.  I happen to like the chewy and light texture of the cookie.  They are especially good with a cup of tea.

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One little warning…  If you let your kids take them somewhere as a snack you’ll need a hard-sided container as I don’t think they will survive being toted around in a plastic bag.  That is, if there are any left when they get home from school…

In case you’re interested, here’s the nutritional info per cookie

64 calories, 3 grams fat, 22 grams sodium, 30 mg potassium, 8.8 grams carbs, 4 grams sugar , 1g protein

Not as good as I was hoping, but better than without the oatmeal.  Next I’m going to add peanut butter and see what happens.