And now, so do you:
1-3/4 c. flour (anything except King Arthur)
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shortening (try the non-hydrogenated kind; it's great - and they sell it at The Wedge)
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. mashed bananas (3 bananas, unless they're exceptionally large or small)
1 c. chopped dates (or those silly red and green candied cherries that they only sell around Xmas. But the dates taste MUCH better)
OPTIONAL - 1/2 c. walnuts, pecans, or whatever suits your fancy
- Preheat your oven to 325. Use an oven thermometer! Letting it climb to 350 is okay; letting it climb higher than that is *not*.
- Grease a loaf pan. (I like the Pyrex 1.5 quart loaf pan)
- Thoroughly combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside
- Cream together shortening and sugar; add eggs and vanilla and mix well
- Add bananas and beat until smooth (using an electric mixer on medium speed we're talking under a minute)
- Gently, lovingly, stir the dry ingredients into the mixture. Do this with a fork, wooden spoon, your fingers - anything but your mixer. Stop when it's still a bit powdery
- Stir in the fruits and optional nuts
- Coax the batter into the loaf pan and - important! - let it sit undisturbed for 20 minutes before putting it in the oven (you're allowing the baking soda to begin rising the bread. If you rush this, the bread will be too dense.)
- Place the pan in the oven. Don't bother with a cookie sheet.
- Bake for one hour. If your oven has hot spots, you can turn the pan once, but otherwise you'll get best results if you don't open the oven at all.
- Cool the assemblage on a wire rack for 1/2 hour before removing the loaf from the pan
I am just so enamored of this stuff. Not to mention that it's a great way to get rid of bananas that have gone brown. I used to make it with nuts, but Eric doesn't like nuts in his baked goods, so now I make it without - it might be even more delicious this way. You can eat it warm or cold, slather it with butter or not - heck, if you get really ambitious I suppose you could ice it, although that might be gilding the lily.
I'm a locavore hippie chick, so I use aluminum-free baking powder, raw cane sugar, cage-free eggs, and the aforementioned non-hydrogenated shortening. I'm sure it would turn out just fine with more mainstream ingredients, but I'm changing the world here, awright? Also, although it goes without saying: real vanilla - the best you can find. It's worth it.
This recipe came from my grandmother - whence before her, I really don't know.
I hope you enjoy it.