Making this banana bread recipe brings back fond memories of the county fair when I was a little girl. At just 9-years-old, I was one of the youngest among my club that showed livestock. I remember my mom waking me up and telling me to get dressed quickly as the older kids were on their way to take me into the livestock area with them to feed. As I was finishing getting dressed, my mom would hand a loaf of banana bread out of the small kitchen window to one of the boys below. Another parent would hand us a gallon of milk while another parent would give us cups. As we made our way from the camp to the livestock area, we would take turns passing them around. By the time we made it the livestock area, the milk and the banana bread would be polished off.
It may seem like a silly memory but our fair and our club was unique to say the least. Our particular county fair was directly next to the beach. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I can promise you that I’m not. Our campers were parked probably 200-300 feet away from the water. After a long day of showing, several from our club would go surfing for the afternoon. We would all have dinner together and then sit by the campfire and just talk. Every night at 10 p.m., the fair would set off fireworks which was always a nice way to end the day.
I would say my reason for telling you this is that you never know what dish you make next will create a lasting memory among you and your family.
· ½ cup butter, room temperature
· 2 eggs
· 1 cup brown sugar
· 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
· 1 tsp. baking soda
· 1 tsp. salt
· ½ tsp. cinnamon
· 1 cup mashed bananas, very ripe
· ½ cup applesauce
· 1 tsp. vanilla
· ½ cup chopped pecans
*There is one secret to making this recipe that is different from most others. I know that some may question it, but I promise it is worth it. The big secret is using old bananas that have been frozen. When you have purchased bananas and you seem to have a couple left over that seem too brown to eat, toss them in the freezer. Once they have been in the freezer long enough, they will turn almost black. This is when you want to use them. Set them in the sink to defrost. Once defrosted, peel the skin away and you are left with a very ripe banana that has a bit of a syrupy liquid to it. Toss the skins and keep as much of the banana and syrup mixture as possible. This will yield a much darker banana bread than most people are accustomed to.
· Preheat oven to 350°F.
· Cream together butter, sugar and eggs.
· Sift dry ingredients together and combine with the creamed mixture. Mix well.
· Add in the bananas, applesauce and vanilla; stir well but do not overwork the mixture.
· Stir in the nuts and pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. (I will be using 4 mini loaf pans so my cooking time will be reduced.)
· Bake for one hour or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Turn onto a rack to cool
In order to ensure that the loaves stay their freshest, store in an airtight container for just a few days. Also, because there are no preservatives, it will not have a very long shelf life.
*Toasting it with a little butter on top is another delicious way to enjoy this banana bread recipe!