Just call me El Chiquita!

So… I am tooling through Marc’s grocery the other night when I am confronted with .50 cent bags of bananas. We are talking a banana bonanza here folks! (Say that 10 times fast – banana bonanza) For $1.00, I got TEN pounds of almost too ripe bananas. As I was standing in line with three cartons of sour cream and two huge bags of bananas, the other customers looked at me as if I had lost my mind. Me..I knew I was mad with genius! I would turn my kitchen into a banana republic!

A short while later, loaded down with my bags of goods, I knocked on the door of our apartment.

“Who’s there?!” asked my hubby.

“Banana.” says I.

“Banana who?” asks he.

“Banana!” I say again.

“Banana who?!” he asks with a sigh.

“Orange.” I say, grinning at the eye peering through the peephole.

“Orange who?” he said, resigned to the inevitable.

“Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” I ask, nodding sagely.

He opened the door and I passed him the big bag.

“So, what’s this?” as he peered inside. “Holy shit, Rose, what are you going to do with all these bananas?”

Cackling manically, I went into the kitchen and started a long night of baking.

Every cook has his/her favorite recipes; the ones that you can whip up in your sleep, the ones that everyone asks for at the party/potluck/workplace. Me – one of mine is my Banana Bread Royale. I found it in a tiny tome called The Desperate Gourmet by Lois Schenck.

Banana Bread Royale

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 soft bananas, mashed
1 ½ cups flour

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    Cream the butter with the sugar and add the eggs one at a time.
    Dissolve the baking soda in the sour cream, and then add the baking powder, mashed bananas, and vanilla.
    Add the sour cream and butter mixtures to the flour and bake 45 minutes in a greased loaf pan.

However, I found this to be a flawed recipe to a certain extent. While I loved how moist the loaf was, it always browned too much on the outside before the interior was done. The recipe was all wrong for a loaf pan, but it was perfect for muffins and mini-loafs. They came out light brown, perfectly done and moist. Plus, I loved that I could wrap them individually, and then throw them in the freezer for a quick treat during the week, getting out just what I needed.

The second problem with this is that it is just too damn plain. Sure it tastes great – like bananas, in fact. Bananas are soft, and pliable. Why not bend them to your will? Do you not whip the butter and beat the eggs? Why are you taking it so easy on the damn bananas?! Maybe there is a lil somethin’ going on I don’t know about..huh? Ummm…ahem..excuse me…as I was saying, this recipe is definitely one that begged to have additions. Nuts, chocolate, dried fruit…all good thoughts. Two of my favorite combinations:

Pecan and chocolate chip – because a bad morning can always be made better with chocolate.

Tropical treat (Dried pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts) – ummmm...well I had this pineapple and coconut that needed to be used up…so in it went! Turned out great! The second time around, I soaked the pineapple in some diluted spiced rum and called it pina colada bread. That batch went like gangbusters, but was not a good choice for early morning snacking.

Additional tips:

  • If you decide that making muffins is too much of a pain in the butt, you can also spread this out in a greased 9” x 13” pan.
  • Make sure your bananas are overripe. The more spots the better.
  • I have also been known to throw the bananas in with the butter, eggs and sugar mixture and let the mixer do the job of squishing the bananas for me. Me, lazy? Never.
  • I may be wrong, but I cannot see any real difference when I add the dry to the wet or vice versa in this recipe. So sift out your flour onto a piece of parchment paper and save a bowl. Throw that bad boy in on top of the wet ingredients. If you do it right, all you have to clean up is your measuring spoons and cups, plus the mixing bowl and the baking pans. Save those two extra bowls for something else. Like Jell-O. For those bastards that hate banana bread.


Sarah (the headhunter) said...

There are people who hate banana bread? They need to be cleansed from the gene pool.

The breads look yummy in the extreme.

Rosie said...

Thanks, Sarah!

There was a guy at work who hated banana bread. He never did give a good reason why - just refused to eat it. Of course, no one cared much because that meant more for them!