Bananas are one of the consistent reasonably-priced fruits at the store. And if they're a little brown, they're even cheaper. (Our local King Soopers prices them at 35 cents a pound.)
Bananas can thicken a smoothie, or turn plain ice cream into a special occasion. (Add chocolate syrup, any leftover fruit you've got, plus a puff of whipped cream -- and you've got a banana split.) Dip them in melted chocolate or chocolate syrup, roll in chopped nuts and freeze for a healthy, tasty 'popsicle.'
But the star is banana bread, a substantial loaf that's great toasted or not, spread with butter (or not), and alongside a bowl of soup, becomes a Filling Meal. The wonderful thing about this recipe? Add one banana more -- or less. Skip the nuts, or add chocolate chips or dried cranberries. You can even skip an egg. (Add a half-shellful of water, instead.) Doesn't matter -- it's still moist and tasty.
TIME-TESTED BANANA BREAD
2 2/3 cups flour (if you live at high altitude, make sure this is a 'heaping' measure -- 3 cups total)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (one stick) butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
2-3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (substitute any nuts -- or leave them out. Whatever.)
Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan, and turn your oven on to 325 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar, and bananas together; add eggs and everything but flour. Gradually add flour, mixing as you go. (Mixture will be somewhat lumpy.) Scoop into pan, bake approx. 1 hour 20 minutes, or until top is golden-brown, and a toothpick or straw inserted comes out clean. Let cool for about 30 min., for easier slicing.
These make good muffins, too -- and only take 20-30 min. to bake.
BANANA CAKE VARIATION
Use the banana bread recipe, but add 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup extra sugar (or not), and another egg, if you've got it. Bake in a 9" square or round pan. Serve with a scoop of ice cream, or a puff of whipped cream.