The Many Lives of Bananas
Banana Bread as Comfort Food I remember as a kid, the prize for browning, bruised and aged bananas was Banana Bread. This was a very simple sweet treat that everyone seemed to enjoy being served, a true comfort food. ...
I remember as a kid, the prize for browning, bruised and aged bananas was Banana Bread. This was a very simple sweet treat that everyone seemed to enjoy being served, a true comfort food. My grandmother would always brew a pot of fresh coffee and would slather butter on slices as the best way to serve and enjoy this sweet bread. A petite little lady, she would often enjoy two slices at one sitting. My move to the South found cream cheese and jellies as regular toppings to this sweet bread.
As a kid, I never remember freezing these bananas for later uses as I do now. My neighbor peels her bananas, fills baggies and notes the contents. I just toss my bananas in the freezer, peel and all, as my freezing method. When I am ready to use, I allow the bananas to sit at room temperature about 20 minutes or so before I attempt to peel. WARNING: DO NOT MICROWAVE, as the banana fibers often catch on fire! When I moved to the South, I was also introduced to the regional secret ingredients in Banana Bread, and that was cream cheese and pecans! The recipe that follows was one that a former neighbor shared and credited Southern Living as the source, but this recipe is scribed on a hand-written note card and noted as her own creation.
Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread
– recipe adapted from Southern Living Ingredients:
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups mashed extra over-ripe bananas (this is about 4 medium bananas)
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy.
- Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended.
- Combine flour, baking soda and power, and salt in a separate bowl.
- Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating at a low speed until blended.
- Stir in the mashed bananas, pecans and vanilla as the final step.
- Spoon batter into two loaf pans that have been buttered and floured. Two 8 x 4 loaf pans will work best.
- Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. The sides of the loaf should also be pulling away from the pan.
- After 45 minutes, check to see if you might want to add a foil tent to prevent these loaves from browning too much. You know your oven best.
- Cool the bread in the loaf pans for 10 – 12 minutes before removing the breads from the pans.
- Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes before slicing. ( if you can wait that long…)
- Cut slices with an electric knife or a serrated knife.
- Enjoy with a pot of fresh brewed coffee and a friend!
Given the richness and the tang of the cream cheese, this recipe does not need any butter, but in memory of my grandmother I have been known to butter this sweet bread!
Here is another great idea for aged bananas, a fruit smoothie you can create at home.
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup frozen or fresh berries,
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 medium banana
- Blend together all ingredients.
- Substitute any fruit if berries are not available. Peaches and mangos are great alternatives.
- Enjoy this easy and nutritious breakfast or snack idea.
What is your favorite use for “aged” bananas?