Friday, February 15, 2008

Baking Frenzy: Banana Nut Bread

I don't know why, but I just have to bake lately! Sara says it is the cold weather, but I think it might be a big stress reliever. I have been anxious lately about many things (e.g., jobs...), and when I bake, all that stress goes away for a little while. So, bake I must: it's a better addiction than heroin, I suppose.

Yesterday being Valentine's Day, I had the perfect excuse to bake. Since Karl and I are somewhat busy during the week, we are celebrating the Day this Sunday. I'll be making a plum tart Sunday to follow up a lamb dinner. However, for the actual Valentine's Day, I wanted to do something simple that would let Karl know just how much I do love him. I wracked my brains, and came up with that simple delight: banana nut bread.

I didn't have a tried and true recipe, so I googled "best banana nut bread." The first entry was my winner!

I had a minor setback after I'd gone to the store for bananas and pecans when I realized my loaf pan was missing from the ranks of pots and pans in my cupboards. I'm not sure where the two loaf pans I had disappeared to, but I then had to decide whether to make banana nut muffins, banana nut bundt cake, or banana nut squares. I settled on the latter (using an 8x8-inch square Pyrex dish). The baking time actually turned out to be about the same (50 minutes), though I thought it would take less time in a square dish than in a loaf pan.

Banana bread smells absolutely heavenly as it bakes, regardless of how it turns out. I highly recommend it as an air freshener. And for a Valentine's Day bonus, according to this article from, the aroma of banana nut bread is an aphrodisiac for women! If you find it necessary to have an aphrodisiac for men, your best bet is pumpkin pie.

I added a teaspoon of vanilla to the recipe, since I love vanilla. And one additional recipe note: the recipe list calls for baking powder, while the instructions reference "soda". I used baking soda and the bread was great. Next time I'll try powder and see if things turn out differently.

The bread turned out lovely. Moist and not-too-sweet. If I had it to do over again, I probably would use riper bananas (over-ripe). Since I baked spur of the moment, my bananas were just ripe: not ideal for baking. Still, everything turned out well, and Karl enjoyed a warm slice with butter after dinner. Yum!

Happy Valentine's Day (a day late I know)!

Old-Fashioned Banana Nut Bread
This is an Old-Fashioned Banana Nut Bread recipe taken from the
Breakfast and Brunch volume of the Oxmoor House Southern Heritage Cookbook Library.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (4 medium, ripe to over-ripe)
1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Cream butter in a medium mixing bowl; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, flour, soda [sic], salt, bananas, and pecans; mix well. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x5x3 loafpan. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, remove bread from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Slice and serve. Makes 1 loaf.