Mmmm…. memories of banana bread. My mom used to make banana bread all the time when I was a kid. My favorite was something my mom taught me: toasting it in the toaster oven just enough to warm a slice and then spreading a light layer of cream cheese over the top. (It is delicious, trust me and try it!) Even as I got older, I used to love coming home and there would be a fresh, out of the oven loaf cooling on the stove, filling the kitchen with its wonderful banana smells. When I went away to college, my mom (and sometimes my roomate Vicki’s mom) would send us back to school with loaves from our visits home.
Once I got my own apartment, I started making my own banana breads, testing and altering a selection from the countless different recipes available. This recipe is one I finally settled on, and is it a good one I must say. It is a combination of many recipes and a special ingredient my mom always used: applesauce.
Julien had bought a large amount of bananas and near the end of the week, the few remaining became too ripe to just eat on their own. I told Julien not to throw them away because I was going to make banana bread. It was then that I learned banana bread is not a household baked good in France. He looked at me funny and said “You are going to make what? What is that?” I was stunned! It had never even crossed my mind that he didn’t know what it was. I mean, it makes sense, just as Brioche isn’t something widely known in the States. So of course I told him how he was in for a treat and made this recipe for him. It is now his favorite thing I make for him, as he purposely buys too many bananas, hoping to come home to a freshly baked loaf. :)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup of sugar
3 over-ripe bananas
1/4 cup of applesauce
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
In a second small bowl, smash bananas with a fork until creamy. (Some chunks are okay, and even suggested!) Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar until well blended. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, applesauce and bananas. Stir until well combined.
Slowly add flour mixture in batches until fully combined.
Pour batter into a buttered bread loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. You can check to see if the bread is finished by inserting a toothpick into the center. The toothpick should come out clean.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then cool fully on the rack. Enjoy!