There are some recipes that you have to go and shop for. Like if you’re baking a fancy birthday cake, or trying a new ethnic cuisine. You almost certainly will not have everything you need on hand unless you have a much more fully-stocked kitchen than I do.
And then there are other recipes. Recipes you prepare specifically because you have the ingredients on hand. Maybe you even have one or more items that need to be used immediately or sent to the compost bin. I think this is how a lot of soups and stews and casseroles get their start – let’s just throw it all in a pot and hope for the best. I also think this is usually the story behind banana bread.
It’s a shame, really, because I love banana bread. It’s sweet but not too sweet, and slathered with butter it’s heaven. I love to eat it for breakfast myself, justifying the choice because banana is a fruit, and fruit is healthy. Ergo, banana bread is healthy.
But the fact is that you can’t make banana bread with just any banana. You really need a banana just slightly past its prime. A really sweet, mushy banana. The kind you probably don’t want to eat straight. And so banana bread is the refuge of the person who bought too many bananas and is now looking for a good use. Or maybe, like me, you sometimes deliberately buy too many bananas so you will have to make banana bread. Either way, I don’t judge.
I got my own banana bread recipe from my grandmother. She made the best banana bread, and so when I found myself with some overripe bananas as a university student I called her one morning and wrote her recipe down on a piece of paper that I still have. I have tweaked the recipe in the years since. I use whole wheat flour (the better to convince myself it’s healthy) and honey instead of sugar. And instead of the traditional chopped nuts I favour raisins. Although this is purely a matter of personal taste, and recently I have tried hemp hearts as well, and those are perfectly lovely.
Banana bread warm from the oven
Should you be in search of a banana bread recipe for your own overripe fruit, look no further. Here is my very own favourite banana bread recipe. And the best part? It’s easy to adapt for gluten-free baking, and no one can even tell the difference.
Amber’s Banana Raisin Bread
* Gluten-Free Option
1/2 c butter
1/2 c honey
Add, mixing well:
2 large bananas, mashed
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour – OR –
1 1/2 c gluten-free flour blend +
3/4 t guar or xantham gum
Optional (add at end):
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c hemp hearts
Pour batter into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the centre comes out clean.
Slice and slather with butter. Remind yourself how healthy it is, being a fruit and all.