Ahhhh the eternal problem: what to do with the ubiquitous over-ripe bananas? I freeze them for smoothies; I dip them in chocolate and then freeze them for an instant dessert; and I throw them in muffin batter for a nutritious snack. Then there comes a moment when my freezer fills up and I am kicking myself for buying so many bananas! And that is the time when banana bread comes to the rescue as a delicious gift from the Kitchen Gods.
I found this banana bread recipe in the American Heritage Cookbook, and I was intrigued by the addition of sour cream and grated lemon rind. The sour cream made it extra moist and the lemon rind gave it a bright Summer-y flavor. It was a wonderful departure from the usual banana bread recipes! I tasted the batter and let’s just say, if you chose to eat the batter and forgo the baking, I wouldn’t judge!
American Heritage Cookbook (AHC)
1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Grated rind of half a lemon (~1/8 teaspoon)
¾ cup mashed ripe bananas (I used 3 bananas because the goal of this endeavor was to use up all my over-ripe bananas after all!)
2 Tablespoons commercial sour cream
½ cup chopped walnuts or macadamia nuts (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350°. Grease and lightly flour a regular loaf pan or two small loaf pans. I rub a generous amount of butter around every inch of the pan and then spoon approximately a tablespoon of flour into the pan. I then tip the pan and tap to distribute the flour. Rotate pan and tap. Continue until there is a light coating of flour on every surface. Tap out the left over flour.
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside. Mash bananas in a small bowl and set aside. Grate the peel of half a lemon. Be extremely careful not to get any of the bitter white pith. It will ruin the taste of your bread and we don’t want that! I am probably overly cautious and would rather use more of the lemon than risk bitter bread.
AHC instructs us to “work butter until soft, then work in sugar, a little at a time, until smooth.” I took this to mean mash the butter around the bowl with the back of a wooden spoon until malleable, and then gradually add in sugar. Mash the sugar into the butter with the back of a wooden spoon until completely incorporated.
Beat in eggs (by hand with your wooden spoon), one at a time, add the vanilla, grated lemon rind, and mashed bananas. Stir in flour mixture alternately with sour cream. I did my usual three additions ending with sour cream. Mix in nuts being careful not to over mix.
Pour into a large prepared loaf pan or two mini pans and bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few clinging crumbs. The large loaf should take ~45 minutes to 1 hour, while the little ones will take ~25 – 35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in pans and then remove to cool completely on a rack.
The best part about baking two mini loaves is that you can eat one now and wrap the other one up tightly and freeze it for a later date!