Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Banana Bread

Let me just start this by admitting that I can't cook. Well, I mean, of course I am able to cook. It's just, well, my aptitude for it is minimal.  I know, I know, if I say "I can't" than I'll never be able to.  But, it's not like I haven't tried.  Eric and I even took a really amazing cooking class together this past spring to learn basic things like knife skills, how to chop vegetables, how to make an omelette, how to make chicken stock and mashed potatoes.  Things that I, as a homemaker, think I should really know how to do.  Somehow, Eric retained all of the information and I am still at a loss.

However, even though I can't cook, I can bake. (I won't even pretend to be humble about it). My mom couldn't really cook either - we ate a lot of Tyson fajitas from the freezer section. I didn't realize that mashed potatoes didn't have to come from flakes in a box until I was 21. But, my mom still believed wholeheartedly in the theory that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.  So, she taught me how to bake.  Cake, cookies, cinnamon rolls, brownies.  You name it, we baked it.

So, I take baking seriously. And, I don't pass on recipes for yummy baked goods unless I think the recipe is really, really, REALLY good.  And, this is the best banana bread ever. No question. A long while back, I asked on my Facebook page whether anyone had a good banana bread recipe.  I had almost-black bananas to use up and I didn't just want mediocre banana bread. And, I've never found a banana bread recipe that I really loved, not even my mom's.

I had lots of recipes sent my way. Who knew there were so many ways to make banana bread? The very last recipe I received was from the amazing Daveen (most amazing children's photographer ever. yes, I just had to slip that in, again.). And, she claimed that her recipe was good. In fact she said "This will be the best banana bread recipe you have ever tasted."

Well . . . she was right.  Now, let me give a disclaimer.  She was right because it could really be called cake. It is indeed the best banana bread. Ever. Because it is made with vanilla pudding, FIVE eggs and one-and-a-quarter cups of oil.

If you are looking for something healthy or nutritious to feed your kids, you know something with lots of hidden vitamins and minerals, this is not it. If you are looking for a treat that they are guaranteed to L.O.V.E. this is your recipe. I did at least use organic bananas and brown cage-free eggs. Yay me. That is where the healthy ends, folks.

Now, you can also make this recipe as pumpkin bread or zucchini bread. Just substitute 16 oz of pumpkin or zucchini for the bananas.

Also, this recipe makes 2 full-size loaves of the bread or 4-6 small loaves.

So, here's what you do:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease your pans and set aside.

In one bowl, blend together:

5 eggs
1 1/4 cup oil
4 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla

In another bowl, sift together:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2 small boxes cook and serve vanilla pudding

Just a note that "small" boxes of cook & serve pudding are the 3.0oz boxes. The other day at the grocery store, I accidentally grabbed "instant" pudding instead of "cook & serve."  I had all three kids with me (not unusual). But, it was 5:00 so the store was packed. Jameson kept throwing himself backward in the Ergo. Marshall was pretending to be Luke Skywalker with some serious Jedi moves. And, Eliza was practicing ballet in the baking aisle. I saw small boxes of vanilla pudding, grabbed them and moved on. Shoot. They were "instant" pudding.  I found one box of cook & serve in my pantry. So, I used it and one of the instant puddings. My bread turned out as crazy-good as ever. 

Slowly stir together flour mixture and banana mixture until thoroughly blended.

Divide into baking pans and bake at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes (if using 4-6 small, tinfoil pans) or 70-75 minutes (if using two regular sized baking pans). 

I couldn't think of a clever way to end this blog.  So I asked Marshall.  He says to say either "The End" or "Mom's banana bread is so good I can hardly stand it."  Love. Him.


Betsey said...

Mmm. I love any recipe that calls for vanilla pudding! Definitely going to give this one a try, Joce!

Daveen said...

Love sharing recipes! I've been thinking about doing a little cookbook for clients . . . I've got so many good recipes shared from friends from all over the US. (This one is originally from the mother in law of my friend from Florida.) Maybe you can be the food photographer? ;)

It's fun reading your blog, Jocelyn.