Banana Bread

Seeing a bowl of overripe bananas on the kitchen table reminded me that it had been a long time since I had made quick breads.

One of my all-time favorites is Banana Nut Bread. I usually use pecans in my banana bread, but my granddaughter said she likes walnuts in it, so perhaps you will like the following version also. Remember that bananas need to be very ripe for this tasty bread.

 You will notice that I use self-rising flour in the banana bread but if you don’t have it, you can make your own by adding a tablespoon of baking powder and a teaspoon of salt to 2 cups of all-purpose flour.

This time of the year, when fresh vegetables are in abundance, I also like to make Zucchini Carrot Bread. This quick bread is as pleasing to the eye and nose as it is to the palate. When you cut into the loaf, you see tiny “freckles” of orange and green. A crunchy crust and a tender crumb make this bread special.

Sometimes I like to make miniature loaves of these quick breads and share them with my friends. They make great gifts for different occasions. When giving as a gift, I like to include a small container of flavored butter. The following Honey Nut Butter is good with both of these quick breads.

BANANA WALNUT BREAD

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Combine the butter, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat until mixed. Add eggs, vanilla and bananas. Beat just until mixed. Gradually add flour and mix until blended. Stir in walnuts. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of loaf. Remove from pan immediately.

ZUCCHINI CARROT BREAD

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup finely shredded zucchini
  • ⅔ cup finely shredded carrots
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Stir to mix. In large bowl, beat together the oil and eggs. Stir in zucchini, carrots and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Pour into the pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of loaf.

HONEY NUT BUTTER

  • 1 cup butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans

Combine in food processor and process until well blended. Spoon into bowl and refrigerate.

Award-winning chef Prudence Hilburn’s cooking column appears every other week. Contact her at prudencehilburn@aol.com.

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