In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I would share a recipe that my mother made frequently during my childhood – Banana Bread. Some people grew up with Julia or the Joy of Cooking, but I grew up with The Silver Palate. Our family’s pesto recipe comes from it, our Christmas dinner comes from it, and of course our Banana Bread of choice comes from it. I could go on and on. The recipes are all simple and based on local and fresh ingredients, and I used to love reading the sample menus that the authors would suggest. It made me think of the all the parties I wanted to throw when I grew up – yes, I was already planning future dinner parties as an 11-year-old, I have always wanted to be the host.
Our copy of the cookbook was so worn that it was literally in pieces, wide-open to the recipes that we used again and again. I finally replaced it for my mother when the 25th anniversary edition came out, but I still sometimes see her referring to the old one. I guess it’s like an old friend at this point.
I now own my very own copy of The Silver Palate and continue to make recipes like pesto and ratatouille and last week, I finally made our banana bread in my toaster oven. Sam and I returned home after a weekend away to some very very ripe bananas, the ones that you sometimes hope for just so you can make banana bread. You know the ones, they’re so ripe that they’re sweet and starchy and too much to take on their own. I think we love this recipe so much because of the whole wheat flour. It cuts the sweetness and makes you almost think the bread is good for you.
Banana Bread (from The Silver Palate Cookbook)
Makes 1 loaf
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
¾ c. sugar
1 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour
3 large, over ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ c. shelled walnuts coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt together, stir in the whole wheat flour, and add the the creamed mixture, mixing well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack of the oven (or just in the toaster oven!) until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then on a rack.