Banana Bread

I love the versatility of banana bread. It works for breakfast, dessert, and is one of those all-around foods you can serve on its own with nothing before or after. Just a pot of tea and a few slices of this and you are set for company. It’s also sturdy and easy to transport, so it’s great for picnics or camping trips.

Banana Bread (makes one loaf or about 8 servings)

3/4 cup (180ml) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) salt
3/4 cup (180ml) sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil–I used grapeseed, but canola, safflower, hazelnut, etc. will do–just don’t use olive oil unless it’s very light on flavor and aroma)
1 cup (240ml)–about 2 or so–very ripe bananas, mashed–all black and yucky on the outside, a thing of miracles on the inside–if you use underripe or just ripe bananas your bread will have no flavor–none
1 Tbsp. sour cream, plain yogurt or creme fraiche (I’ve had people tell me they leave this out when they don’t have it and it works fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped

Note: You might have a pile of rotten bananas but no energy to make banana bread. The good news is rotten bananas freeze really well. When you defrost them they might be rather juicy. Add it–juice and all–to your bread.

1 – 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13cm) loaf pan, buttered or oiled

Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C).

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.

Using a standing mixer, a hand mixer or a bowl and whisk, whip the sugar and egg together until thick and light. When you lift the whisk or beaters up, the batter will fall in thick ribbons.

Slowly stream in the oil, incorporating a little at a time, whipping well after each addition.

Stir in the bananas, sour cream and vanilla.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and flour.

Add batter to prepared pan.

Bake on center rack for approximately 45 minutes until nice and brown on top. The bread will be pulling away from the sides a bit and will spring back when the top is lightly pressed. If you stick a toothpick into the center it won’t come out completely clean–if it did the bread would be overly dry.

Cool on rack for 30 minutes.

Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen and invert onto rack.

If it doesn’t come out right away, hold the rack firm against the pan and give it a good smack on the counter. It should release. Cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.