Friday, July 9, 2010

Not quite life handing one lemons and making lemonade, but...

So, I had this bunch of bananas going steadily overripe in my fruit bowl on the kitchen counter.  Actually, it was parts of two separate bunches; the original bunch I'd bought which started getting riper than the ripeness level Kiddo will willingly consume (she eats a banana each morning as part of her breakfast), and a second bunch I'd bought when the first bunch started getting too ripe so there'd be bananas for Kiddo to consume, with the assumption that Hubby, who isn't nearly as persnickety about what constitutes a too-ripe banana, would eat the remainder of the first bunch (he takes a banana in his lunch on days that he brings lunch to work).  What wound up happening was that Hubby didn't eat enough of the first bunch and the second bunch ripened alarmingly quickly, being, as they were, in such close proximity to the first bunch, and before I knew it, I had half a dozen bananas that were all way too ripe for anyone in the house to want to eat.  And by "anyone" I mean "Hubby or Kiddo" because I do not eat bananas.  Not in their original form, anyhow.  I have a thing about bananas dating back to when I was a child, and try as I may as an adult, I cannot overcome it and eat them plain and unadulterated.
I will, however, gladly eat them in an adulterated form, like, say, as banana bread.  Of course, to eat them as banana bread requires making the banana bread, which is what I decided I'd do.  I decided this right around when the insane heat wave started, though, as the bananas all had the unfortunate timing to edge perilously close to rotten just when the thermometer started racing up (and up, and up.  Didn't the heat wave realize where it was?  This is upstate New York, for Pete's sake!  We prefer to buy plane tickets and make hotel reservations to experience those kind of temperatures.  When we choose to, on purpose, paying good money to do so.  We don't like to just be subjected all willy-nilly to upper 90s in our own hometown, sheesh!!)  Who in their right mind wants to turn on an oven and bake things for an hour when it is freakishly hot outside?  No one in their right mind, that's who, and not me, either.  So, the bananas sat, going browner and browner, first in the fruit bowl and then in the fridge, until today when the heat finally dropped back down below 80 and turning the oven on didn't seem quite so laughable a thought.

I rescued my beloved, cobalt blue Kitchenaid stand mixer from its sad, temporary home in the bottom of my pantry, vowing to it once again that the moment our kitchen renovation is complete (neglecting to mention that the renovation won't even begin for another few years unless we win the lottery sooner than that), I will move it to a permanent place of honor, out on the countertop, so it will no longer have to languish behind the bag of dry cat food, nor will it have to practically give me a hernia every time I haul it out and up into the daylight to use.  I dug out my go-to recipe for banana bread, took a deep breath, fired up the oven and got to mixin'.

Here's the thing about banana bread: it smells better than any other thing in the world when it is baking.  Seriously.  The smell wafts all throughout the house, permeating every nook and cranny with that delicious odor.  Longer lasting than chocolate chip cookies, more powerful than brownies, less "have to be in the mood for it or it is icky" than bacon, there's just something about banana bread that makes it the best thing you can possibly bake in terms of making your entire house smell edible.  Within 15 minutes of me popping the pans into the oven, Kiddo surfaced from the lanai, nose sniffing away.  Hubby, downstairs in the office, noticed the wondrous smell as well.  Both of them began asking me "When will it be ready?  Is it ready yet?"  By the time I pulled the loaves out, we were all salivating heavily.

I wish that there was a Scratch-n-Sniff plug-in for the internet, because that would make this:

so much better.  Sadly, you'll either have to take my word for it, or hop in your car (or on a plane, depending on where you're reading this right now) and stop over for a slice of banana bread heaven.  We've only got a loaf and a half left now, so you'd better stop by soon.  Or, for a last option, buy too many bananas, let them get too ripe, and bake up a batch yourself:

Best Banana Bread in the World Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together 2 sticks butter and 2.5 cups sugar.  Add 6 overripe bananas, blend well.  Add 4 well-beaten eggs, blend well again.  In a separate bowl while the previous mixture is blending (I set my Kitchenaid around a 4 for this - medium/medium-low), sift together 3 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 teaspoons of baking soda.  Add dry ingredients and (once again) blend well.  Pour into two greased loaf pans (you know, the traditional size "loaf" pans, though I have several and no two are the exact, same size).  Bake for about an hour - until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.  Depending on the oven I've been using, this can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes, so I generally start checking the loaves for doneness around the 45 minute mark, then every 5 minutes thereafter.  Enjoy!!


SwizzlestickMama said...

You are oh-so right. Banana bread is the very best cooking smell ever.

And now I am salivating, too.

I imagine it is as delicious as it looks--and you've inspired to turn my brown frozen bananas into bread! They have been in the freezer for at least a month.

Stay cool!

My name is Andy. said...

That looks great! We like chocolate chips in ours. Did you know that you can throw the bananas in the freezer till you need them? Then they are good an mushy and just right for banana bread.

Enjoy!! (assuming any is still left!)

Givinya De Elba said...

Oooh yum Heather! I think I can smell it from here ...

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

If i leave now I'll be there.... well... later.... but i NEED some of that bread.

Paige said...

Im with you on bananas in banana form--I think it is the texture that grosses me out.

But banana bread---mm mm good.

I am not about to make it though.

I did have a client offer to make me some if I just got him off of death row. That was a unique offer. FYI: he is still there and I have no banana bread

Teresa said...

Looks deeeeeeeelicious! I wish I was having that for breakfast instead of my oatmeal and yogurt.

Crazy Sister said...

Well done! And those pictures on your last post are gorgeous, too.