Thank goodness the holiday season is gone and now we can go back to our previously overly-scheduled lives with an extra dose of grumbling about all the food we ate. So even though some of us are living off of magic muesli, apples and almonds our kids still need to eat. And I find banana bread the perfect antidote to grey, want-to-be healthy January.
The recipe for Oatmeal Banana Bread from my cookbook Whining and Dining: Mealtime Survival for Picky Eaters and Families Who Love Them is one our favourites. I generally double the recipe and make it as mini-muffins because there is less waste and easier to hand out to whiny kids without getting crumbs everywhere. I use silicone mini-muffin tins (the same ones I use for my famous brownie recipe).
The inherent awesomness of this recipe is enhanced by the fact that it uses melted butter and does not need a mixer. It can all be done by hand with a wooden spoon. I usually use bananas I have frozen when they got too stinky. If you remember one tip from this post, remember this: when freezing bananas, peel them, put them in a ziploc and mush them up -- that way they are all ready for banana bread, just pour off some of the extra water after they have defrosted.
Even though I co-wrote a cookbook, I am an incredibly lazy [insert word here] cook and baker. So I don't mix the ingredients separately and add them in by thirds. Eshun, my co-author and the developer of 95% of the recipes in the book, would not be happy to hear this. But it really cuts down on the time and if you are baking with kids, the mess.
One last note, I use all whole-wheat flour or half or a third depending on what I have on hand. If you do sub in whole wheat flour it will be slightly drier, but it will still be good.
3⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1⁄2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1⁄2 cups mashed banana (3–4 very ripe bananas)
1⁄4 cup buttermilk (or thinned out yogurt or 1/4 cup milk with a tsp of lemon juice)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat or a mixture of both)
1 tsp baking soda
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄3 cup chocolate chips (obviously optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl and stir until uniform. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir to incorporate. Add oats, banana, buttermilk and vanilla; stir until uniform. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; stir with a fork to blend.
Add flour mixture to banana mixture one third at a time; stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until loaf is dark brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edges to loosen, turn out of baking pan and cool on a rack.
Makes 1 yummy loaf or a dozen muffins (bake for 20 mins), or about 36 minis (bake for 16 - 18 mins).
Want more? Last year I was feeling maudlin about giving away toys in the Great Toy Purge