Sometimes when I least expect it, I’ll glance over to the fruit bowl on the kitchen bench and notice some bananas a little beyond their prime. The matte gloss of the yellow peel has faded while the brown creeps in and they’ve softened to the touch. It’s about that time that I do a little happy dance because it means I have an excuse to make banana bread.
I’ll even let you in on a little secret… when I know I have quiet days at home ahead, I’ll sometimes deliberately buy the extra-ripe bananas at the greengrocer solely in the knowledge that in about three days, when cabin fever has set in and I need something cheerful to do with Littlest at home, we can grab out the mixing bowl and put a loaf in the oven. He gets to lick the beater – the best part, really – and I get to delight in his joy at cooking something the big boys will go bananas for as their grumbling tummies return home from school.
Don’t be fooled by the name, though, this isn’t really a bread. There’s no yeast and a lot of sugar so it’s more of a banana cake but because it’s baked in a loaf tin the ‘bread’ label stuck. If you like to watch the sugar intake like I do, you’ll be pleased to hear that this can be stored in a container for a few days and makes a yummy little lunchbox treat. You can also freeze slices to use in the lunchbox anytime – just pop them out the night before and they’ll be defrosted by morning tea ready to fill little tummies.
125g unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 over-ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 160C
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla for five minutes or until light in colour
Add the eggs and combine
Mash the bananas, add to the bowl and combine
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and mix together
Mix through the maple syrup
Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin lined with baking paper and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes away clean
Cool on a wire rack. It’s also particularly delicious when it’s still warm from the oven…