High Altitude Banana Bread
I know there are kids out there who can be called “great eaters”: the ones who try new foods without hesitation. None of my boys were those kids. They were picky eaters, and to be honest, they took some of the fun out of dinnertime; on more than a few nights, the first thing I heard after putting dinner on the table was, “I’m not eating that.” So, whenever one of my boys loved something, I embraced it.
Bananas, for example. My son Oliver’s childhood love for them can be better classified as an obsession. It started way back when he was an infant, before he could even talk. Through trial and error, I realized that I could get him to eat baby food, cereal, or anything at all if I simply added some mashed banana to the bowl. This continued for years. It escalated to the point that, as a kindergartener, he’d talk about opening a banana store someday (where he planned to sell banana-centric items only). I’m sure banana bread would have played a starring role there; it was an absolute favorite of his. When Oliver was younger, there were years when I made banana bread on a weekly basis. Those years are behind us now, and thankfully my sons have all graduated from picky to great eaters, but I still always smile when I think about Oliver and his “bananarama” store (Oliver back then).
The following recipe is for simple, straightforward banana bread, but adding ½ cup of chopped nuts or chocolate chips (my sons all used to love the mini chocolate chips when they were young) is wonderful as well. Banana bread is particularly delicious the following day; just butter it up and throw it on the (panini) grill until it develops a nice crust.
High Altitude Banana Bread
Makes One 4.25" x 8.5" Loaf
1⅓ generous cups mashed very ripe bananas (from 4 medium bananas) - 12 ounces
1 cup granulated sugar - 7 ounces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup oil (grapeseed, sunflower, canola, etc.) - 5.25 ounces
2⅓ cup all-purpose flour (10 ounces) - see note on accurately measuring flour here
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup water
Preheat oven to 325°F. Oil or butter a loaf pan (the top of my loaf pan measures 4.25" x 8.5", which happens to be the perfect size for this recipe). Mash the bananas in a medium sized bowl. Add the sugar and salt. Stir. Add oil and vanilla. Stir. Combine the flour, cinnamon and baking soda in their own receptacle and add half to the banana mixture. Mix until combined. Add water and mix again. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 70-80 minutes (to an internal temperature of 190°F—200°F). Cool completely in the pan before removing.