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Go ape for banana bread on Sunday

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As you know, there’s no shortage of weird food holidays at your disposal when you’re in need of an excuse to make something yummy to eat.

Although no one know why National Banana Bread is tomorrow, almost everyone knows that banana bread is a tasty treat that’s user-friendly enough to make on a regular basis.

Greater Jacksonville even has a local variety of banana bread that’s a perennial favorite among the natives – called St. Johns Banana Bread – and made from a recipe so old that no one knows where it came from.

Certainly it arrived here in GreaterJax™ not long after the 1870s, when bananas first arrived in the US, and just as certainly some of the locally-grown bananas (Yep, bananas are still grown in northeast Florida.) were used to develop the first recipes that appeared in cookbooks starting during the Great Depression.

Since then, the humble banana, so far from its native Papua New Guinea, has grown in popularity as a dessert in its own right.

Our banana bread, it’s claimed by food historian, is an excuse to keep leftover bananas around so that they’re not wasted. And then there’s the potassium, natural sugars, etc.

GJE’s St. Johns Banana Bread

The good news is that banana bread is not a true bread but a “quick bread” or “tea cake,” that can be sliced the better to slather on jams, jellies and other goodies.

There’s no kneading or proofing involved, which means it’s easy to make.

Bread Batter:

  • 1 stick of butter or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter® plus 2 pats, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 large bananas, rotted until the peel blackens, then peeled and mashed
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Topping:

  • 2 tbl. brown sugar,
  • ¼ cup butter or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter®, melted
  • 1/8-¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼-1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Cream together (using a mixing or a large fork) the stick of butter and the sugar.
  1. Once the mixture has a smooth texture, crack the eggs into a separate bowl, whisk them to break the yolks and add a little air to the whites, then mix then into the creamed butter and sugar.
  1. Stir in the flour a little a time until it’s incorporated in the the creamed mixture without lumps.
  1. Add the baking soda and salt, then taste to adjust sweetness if necessary.
  1. If you haven’t prepared your rotted bananas, squeeze them out of the blackened skins into another. You should smell fermentation as well.
  1. Mash the bananas until the lumps are gone, then stir them into the batter.
  1. Once the bananas are incorporated, stir in the pecans.
  1. Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan, then use the other two pats of butter to coat the top of the loaf.
  1. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350°F for 50-60 minutes, testing for doneness with a wooden toothpick or clean knife starting at about 45 minutes. When the toothpick or knife comes out clean, the loaf is done.
  1. Cool on a rack or the stove top for about ten minutes.
  1. While bread cools, prepare the topping by melting butter in a small pan, then stirring in the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.

When the loaf has cooled, turn in out of the pan, add the topping and serve warm or refrigerate.

For a little more texture, sprinkle just a little more brown sugar on the loaf.

Freezes well and makes a nice change from regular toast in the morning.

-30-

©2014 All rights reserved.

OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: kt.4examiner@yahoo.com

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