Nana's bananas

Somebody gave Nana too many bananas so the voice in her head said: make banana bread. Actually that's a teeny mistake, because it's more like banana cake. Whatever we call it, it's easy and delicious. Plus bananas are nutritious. So let's go bananas.

Here is what we need: 3 very soft bananas (if they are ugly and brown, that's great!), 2 eggs and 1 cup of oil, which can be sunflower or vegetable or canola or corn. (Here's a secret: sometimes Nana also puts in 1 tablespoon of cream cheese or the Italian cream cheese known as "mascarpone" which is sweeter and is so lip smacking yummy, it is one of her favorite foods.) Sometimes she puts in 1 less tablespoon of oil and then 1 tablespoon of butter. You can try each way to see which tastes better to you, okay?

Oh yes, we also must have 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of sugar (hint: sometimes Nana uses all Turbinado or raw sugar and sometimes just 1/4 cup of light brown sugar plus 1/4 cup white sugar.), 1/2 cup chopped up walnuts (unless of course these make somebody sick, then don't add them, please!), as much cinnamon as you like, 1/2 teaspoon of salt. And then, because baking banana bread is really a science project where we learn about "chemistry", you must have 1 teaspoon of what's called baking powder (this is the magic to make things rise up poof!) and 1 teaspoon of what's called baking soda, which also helps the poof!.

The butter is to grease the pan so the banana bread doesn't stick to it;

The butter is to grease the pan so the banana bread doesn't stick to it;

We need what's called a "loaf pan." It has that name because it is shaped like a loaf of bread.  You can make one big loaf or two smaller ones. That's up to you. But here's what you have to do: you must take some butter, make it soft and rub it all over the loaf pan or pans you are going to use. All over so the banana bread can't stick anywhere and stay in the pan when you're ready to eat it.

Okay, now we're ready to make our bread and it's very very easy, as I said. First we turn the oven on to 350º so it warms up. Get out a mixer or a processor or your best stirring spoon and a bowl, whatever you have.. Take the peels off those bananas so we're ready to roll.  Put almost everything into the mixing bowl: the oil, the sugar, the eggs, the cinnamon, the salt and the bananas. Give it a whirl. Now together as a team, we put in the baking powder, baking soda and flour. Whir everything together. Then using a spoon, stir the walnuts in. 

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Here's where a scraper comes in. We need to get our banana bread from the bowl into the pan or pans and it's mighty sticky, so this is tricky.  Use a big scraper and fill your buttered pans neatly all over and almost to the top. Not quite at the top because, remember? we put poof! magic in there so our bread is going to go poof! with air. 

We're oven ready, so in it goes. Close the door. Only one thing more: we have to set a timer to know when it's done. A large loaf needs at least 50 minutes. A smaller one 30.


So set our timer and then get out a tester so we're ready.  A tester can be a single spaghetti. Or a toothpick with no color or a real cake tester. What does a cake tester do?  Well, when the timer bell rings, we jab it into the banana bread and it comes out very clean, that means our bread is all done, ready to eat-- after it loses some heat. But if the tester emerges with smoush on it, we need to let our bread bake maybe 5 minutes more, then test it again and keep doing that til the tester comes out clean.

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One last thing to do. We let the bread cool ten minutes so we can touch it because it's time to get it out of the pan. And here's how we can: with a spatula that we carefully run around the edge to loosen things up. Then we turn our pan upside down, knock knock on the bottom and ...banana bread comes out!