Banana bread is one of those foods, like mac & cheese or pizza, that just about everyone enjoys. It's easy to make, easy to freeze, easy to wrap up and give as a gift. In fact, several weeks ago my very dear friend Liz brought over a heavenly banana bread studded with chocolate and peanut butter chips, prompting me to post to Facebook, "a true friend knows your ups and downs and loves you no matter what. A best friend does all that AND brings you banana bread. "
I only like fairly firm bananas for eating raw. Once they start to hit the over-ripe stage I pop 'em in the freezer. The result is a pretty icky looking banana; but it's perfect for banana bread. And remember what Grammie always said, "waste not; want not." In fact, I can't write about banana bread without talking about my grandmother.
She was the kind of woman who always had something home baked in the house when you visited. She knew the names of your dolls, then your friends, and then the boys you liked. She would make your favorite little treat to show you she loved you beyond measure and would share it with you, like a secret treasure. At teatime my mother, grandmother, and I would sit around the table with our own special china cup. The ivory and gold one for Mom's black tea. The tall, narrow one with tiny yellow flowers for my tea with milk and sugar. The graceful wild strawberry cup for Grammie's tea with milk - no sugar. There was always "a little something" as Grammie would call her afternoon snack. She loved banana bread, all fruit breads really, with a thin coating of cream cheese as her teatime treat.
When Grammie would come to visit she would say three things, without fail, all in a row:
1. "Hello!" In her clear, high, musical voice. At that, we would come running.
2. "Where's my hug?" As my brother and I gave her big bear hugs. And then finally,
3. "where's my cuppa?" Because the woman was addicted to her tea. It got to where my brother and I would time her potential arrive and begin boiling water about 20 minutes before so the pot would be ready when she arrived.
I treasure everything I have remaining of her - particularly her recipes. The recipe here is based on Grammie's. She preferred her banana bread a little drier because it would be eaten with cream cheese and tea. I don't think she would have approved of the chocolate chips but the toasted walnuts would have been just fine by her. I can hear her now, "oh Jessie! what a lovely bread! Let's put the kettle on."
Brown Butter Banana Bread ~ makes one loaf
1 cup frozen banana, thawed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup brown butter
2 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare a loaf pan with Bak-Klene or butter and flour.
Brown the butter over medium-low heat taking care not to burn it. Set aside in fridge until ready to use.
Sift together all dry ingredients except sugar and set aside. In a separate large bowl mash the banana. Add the brown butter, eggs, and sugar. Beat to combine. In a third bowl whip the cream. Working in additions, incorporate some of the dry ingredients into the banana mixture, alternating with additions of whipped cream. Do not over mix. Fold in the toasted, chopped walnuts and the mini chocolate chips.
Spread into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Serve with cream cheese and tea to the ones you love most.