Gone Bananas Bread


Crunchy nuts, tart cranberries, and sweet molasses make this moist banana bread a tasty treat for breakfast, lunch, or snacks. Kids love mashing the bananas and mixing the batter—older kids can pour the batter in the pan. Parents or teenagers (not young children) should put the bread in and out of the oven.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour (plus 30 minutes to cool)
  • Yield: One 9x5-inch loaf; about 12 slices

Do this first:

  • Ripen two bananas until very soft, with black spots on the skins.
  • Peel and mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl (the same one you'll use for the wet ingredients) with a fork or wooden spoon.
  • If using whole, shelled walnuts, chop them into small pieces. (Younger children can place them in a plastic bag and crush them into small bits with a rolling pin or side of a can.) Measure enough walnut pieces to make 1/2 cup.

Ingredients and steps:

Dry ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 ripe)
  • 3/4 cup lowfat (1%) milk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
  3. Stir together the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Pour the batter into the pan.
  6. Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Turn bread out of pan onto rack and let cool about 30 minutes before slicing.

Vary It! Try using different dried fruit and nuts, such as blueberries and pecans. For a different taste, replace the allspice with cinnamon or nutmeg. For a lighter flavor, use honey instead of molasses.


Getting a Rise Out of Yeast

Active dry yeast may look like a simple powder, but it's really a living organism—one that's asleep and waiting to be fed. Wake the yeast up with water that's warm to the touch but not hot. For accuracy, use an instant-read thermometer to test the temperature—water between 110 and 115 degrees works best. Yeast will sleep through cooler water and water that's too hot kills it.

After the yeast dissolves in the water, it should bubble and start to froth within 5 minutes; adding sugar or honey to the water feeds the yeast and makes it more active, bubbling up with carbon dioxide gas. If the mixture does not develop a foamy top, throw it out and start again—the water was either the wrong temperature or the yeast was old.


Recipes: Breakfasts, Brown-Bags, & Breads


Recipe © 1999 by Kate Heyhoe

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