Not your mom’s banana bread

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Actually, this is your mom’s banana bread. Well, it’s at least my mom’s banana bread. This banana bread recipe is my mom’s claim to fame (other than her Shabbat chicken). It’s what she always makes for me when I fly back home from college, and it’s what she often sends me with when I go back because apparently I don’t know how to buy food on my own. I had some overripe bananas lying around so I figured I’d give it a shot on my own. I happened to receive one from her in the mail the next day (Seriously!). Anyway, here’s my take on a mom’s classic.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (or oil if you’re making it parve)
  • 1/2-1 cups sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Optional chocolate chips, walnuts, or other fun add-ins!

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F, and grease a 4×8-inch loaf pan
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash the peeled bananas with a fork until uniformly and completely smooth. Stir the melted butter or oil into the mashed bananas
  3. Mix in the salt and baking soda.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract, beaten egg, and sugar.
  5. Fold in the flour.
  6. Stir in any add-ins.
  7. Pour the batter in the loaf pan and bake at 350º F for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Why this recipe is good for college students: This recipe does not require any advance planning. In fact, it requires the opposite! If in the craziness of a college lifestyle you forget that you have bananas, you don’t have to throw them away when they go black. Additionally there is not much active prep time, and you can do homework while the banana bread is baking.

Why this recipe is good for those who keep Kosher: This recipe can easily be made parve, and it doesn’t lose any flavor if you choose to make it as such. It’s also a great treat for Shabbat morning.

What I would do differently if I made this recipe again

  • I used 4 bananas instead of the recommended 2-3. I thought the extra banana would do nothing other than add more delicious banana flavor, but I was wrong. It made the bread more spongy and less buttery, and this worsening in texture is not worth the extra flavor. In the future, I’ll stick to 3 bananas.
  • I let the banana bread bake for just over an hour. Even though the bottom was almost burnt when I checked it at 55 minutes, the toothpick I inserted came out with some batter on it. I should’ve taken it out then, knowing that the bottom crust would burn soon and realizing that slightly undercooked banana bread is not worse (and may even be better) than fully-cooked banana bread.

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