Passing down family recipes

Nothing reminds me more of my family than the tried and true recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Today I am sharing one of those special recipes, from my family to yours.

But, how do I choose which delicious sentiment to share? Lucky for me there’s another holiday that needs celebrating! Friday, Feb. 23 happens to be Banana Bread Day and baking and eating banana bread is something that my family excels at.

I’ve never had a banana bread I didn’t like. However, I’ve also never had a banana bread that is as good as my mother’s homemade loaf.

Banana bread appears on our kitchen counter with frequency, which elicits no complaints from me. There is no such thing as bananas going bad in our house.

Rather, we have a difficult time keeping them on hand. One might say our household is bananas for bananas.

My mother’s go-to banana bread recipe comes from her late Aunt Irene, a fabulous little lady who had wild red hair, gave sloppy kisses and made the most wonderful cooking.

We feel the love whenever we make her mashed potatoes, chocolate sauce, or of course, banana bread.

Auntie Irene’s banana bread recipe includes whole wheat flour, which fools you into thinking “how nutritious.” We often throw in a handful of chocolate chips, because we’re thinking on the other hand “how delicious.”

Auntie Irene’s Homemade Banana Bread

makes one large loaf

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup very ripe bananas, mashed (about 3)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup hot water

Step One: Preheat your oven to 325˚F and grease and line a standard sized loaf pan (I used a 5”x9”) with parchment paper, or line muffin tins with paper liners.

Step Two: In a large bowl, mix the oil with the sugar. Blend in the beaten eggs and mashed bananas. Stir in the all purpose flour, salt and baking soda.

Stir in the whole wheat flour along with the hot water. Mix until just combined, do not mix more than necessary.

Step Three: If you like, throw in a few handfuls of chocolate chips, chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans are delicious), or you can leave it plain. Sometimes simple is best! Chocolate is most often best, however.

Step Four: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 60-65 minutes (muffins take about 20-25 minutes), until the top is a gorgeous dark golden brown and the loaf springs back when gently pressed, or a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Step Five: Resist the urge to tear into that golden crust, as it needs to cool slightly before you can remove it from the pan and slice it. But don’t wait too long, as it’s important to savour a still-warm slice, with a little butter that melts into its soft interior, along with melting away any worries of the day.

Nothing says “home” quite like freshly baked banana bread. Happy Family Day, and happy Banana Bread Day. What a cozy week!

Larissa Costella is a Baking and Pastry Arts student who is bananas for bananas and will find any occasion to celebrate.

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