This Old Fashioned Banana Bread is light, tender and moist. The lemon zest gives it a bright, citrus flavor that is a wonderful departure from the usual cinnamon!
Ahhhh the eternal problem: what to do with the ubiquitous over-ripe bananas? I freeze them for smoothies; I dip them in chocolate and then freeze them for an instant dessert; and I throw them in muffin batter for a nutritious snack. Then there comes a moment when my freezer fills up and I am kicking myself for buying so many bananas! And that is the time when banana bread comes to the rescue as a delicious gift from the Kitchen Gods.
I found this banana bread recipe in the American Heritage Cookbook, and I was intrigued by the addition of sour cream and grated lemon rind. The sour cream made it extra moist and the lemon rind gave it a bright Summer-y flavor. It was a wonderful departure from the usual banana bread recipes!
I tasted the batter and let’s just say, if you chose to eat the batter and forgo the baking, I wouldn’t judge!
I also mixed a little ricotta and honey for a sweet, refreshing spread, and then topped it all off with some of my Quick Strawberry Jam! It's amazing fresh from the oven or eaten with a few accoutrements the following few days!
Old Fashioned Banana Bread
For the Banana Bread:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ lemon (zested, ~½ teaspoon)
- ¾ cup mashed ripe bananas (I used 2 bananas totaling 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (or macadamia nuts, optional)
Honey Ricotta Spread:
- ¼ cup Ricotta (part-skim or whole)
- 1 tablespoon Honey (or more to taste)
Make the Banana Bread:
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a regular loaf pan. I rub a generous amount of butter around every inch of the pan and then spoon approximately a tablespoon of flour into the pan. I then tip the pan and tap to distribute the flour. Rotate pan and tap. Continue until there is a light coating of flour on every surface.
- Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside. Mash bananas in a small bowl and set aside. Grate the peel of half a lemon. Be extremely careful not to get any of the bitter white pith. It will ruin the taste of your bread and we don’t want that! I am probably overly cautious and would rather use more of the lemon than risk bitter bread.
- Grate the peel of half a lemon. Be extremely careful not to get any of the bitter white pith. Combine with the sugar to allow the oils to begin to infuse the sugar.
- AHC instructs us to “work butter until soft, then work in sugar, a little at a time, until smooth.” I took this to mean mash the butter around the bowl with the back of a wooden spoon until malleable and then gradually add in sugar while continuing to mash it into the butter with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Beat in eggs (by hand with your wooden spoon), one at a time, add the vanilla, grated lemon rind, and mashed bananas.
- Stir in flour mixture alternately with sour cream. I did my usual three additions ending with sour cream. Mix in nuts being careful not to over mix.
- Pour into a large prepared loaf pan or two mini pans and bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few clinging crumbs. The large loaf should take 45 minutes to 1 hour, while the little ones will take 25 – 35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in pans and then remove to cool completely on a rack.
Honey Ricotta Spread:
- Whisk together honey and ricotta. For a completely smooth spread, you will need to pulse in a food processor or using a hand held immersion blender. I didn't for the photos and it is just as delicious.
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