I was harshly reminded this past month that there are no guarantees. We go through our lives assuming we have almost endless tomorrows but the sad fact is that we don’t. Our lives can change in an instant and we may have less time than we would have ever imagined.
There were some health scares recently that brought this to the forefront of my mind, both for me personally and for my family. It’s hard to know what to do when your loved ones are in crisis; especially when you’re not physically there. The only thing I could think of was to cook because when you cook for people they feel cared for and I wanted so badly to let my family know that I care for them.
One recipe I consider to be the ultimate comfort food, that always evokes the warmest memories, is my mom’s banana bread. I stubbornly refuse to make any other banana bread. I always end up rummaging through my hand written recipes that are stuck between the pages of our old church cookbook trying to find it. Like most of my written recipes it’s scrawled on a scrap piece of paper with plenty of food splattered on it. The recipe doesn’t look like much but the end result fills your house with the warming scent of banana bread which is about as good as it gets in my book. There’s nothing particularly fancy about this recipe. It’s not gluten-free or vegan or free of refined sugar but it is my mom’s banana bread and it will continue to be what I make for people when I want them to know I care. I hope you try the recipe and share it with someone you love.
Bonus points if you smear salted caramel sauce all over top.
Mom’s Banana Bread
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 overly ripe bananas
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter the insides of a loaf pan and add in a small amount of flour. Tap and shake the pan until there’s a thin layer of flour covering the butter and then dump out the excess. Set aside. Place the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (alternatively just put these in a large bowl and use an electric beater) and mix on medium until creamed together, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, milk and vanilla and then beat on low until fully incorporated.
In a separate small box whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add in half of the flour to the butter mixture and beat on low until incorporated. Add in the rest of the flour mixture and beat again until fully incorporated. Smash the bananas together in a small bowl and then add to the rest of the ingredients. Beat on low until you have a smooth, homogeneous mixture. Spread the banana bread mixture evenly into the prepared loaf ban. Bake 55 to 60 minutes until fully cooked and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. (I tend to cook this even longer to give it a nice crisp crust on the top, usually about 1 hr 15 min but it’ll be fully cooked through before then). Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan and then carefully remove it to a wire rack to cool completely. Best served with butter and a smear of salted caramel sauce if you’ve got it!