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You’ve gotta love Michigan in the spring.  The birds are singing, the trees are blossoming, the road construction is humming along at the speed of molasses…  My favorite part is having to scrape my windows and turn the heat on in my car in the morning, and then cranking the air conditioning on the way home.  I don’t know why Michigan is called “The Wolverine State” when “The Bipolar-Weather State” is so much more accurate.  I mean, have any of you ever actually seen a wolverine?  …Outside of Ann Arbor or the local zoo, I mean.

Anyway, in honor of the unexpected cold snap we’re currently going through, I figured I’d give the oven some exercise and do a little baking.  Now, I love to cook, but I’m not much of a baker, so when I attempt to apply heat to flour and sugar, I try to stick to the basics.

Banana bread is a people-pleaser.  You can whip it up quickly, take it to family gatherings, bring it to work and treat your coworkers, or wrap it up in some foil and ribbon and give it as an inexpensive and delicious housewarming/get-well-soon/congrats-on-the-baby/new job/negative paternity test gift.  Kids love it because kids love bananas, and adults love it because it reminds them of being a kid.  It’s also a great way to use up those over-ripe bananas that you know no one’s going to eat, but you’re too stubborn to just throw out.  My favorite application for banana bread, however, is its use as a vehicle for butter consumption… mmm… butter.

It’s a versatile, simple recipe that everyone should have in their repertoire.


Mom’s Banana Bread

2 cups of sugar

1 cup of margarine, room-temperature

6 very ripe bananas

4 well-beaten eggs

2.5 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of baking soda

(Optional add-ins:  1 cup of walnuts for the traditionalist, or 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips if you want to be the coolest aunt ever next Thanksgiving.)

Cream the sugar and margarine together, and then slowly add the eggs and bananas.  Combine the dry ingredients separately and sift or whisk to incorporate (if you’re adding walnuts or chocolate chips, add them now to coat them with flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of your loaves); add the dry ingredients to the wet slowly, folding together till completely combined. 

Do not over-mix!

Divide mixture between two greased loaf pans, or four greased mini-loaf pans.  Bake at 350° for 55 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans and cool on a baking rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!

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