One of the most frugal fruits you can buy is the banana. At my local Aldi’s, they have them on sale for $.44/lb and sometimes as little as $.33/lb. My local Harris Teeter regularly has $1.00 bags stuffed full of spotted bananas that are still perfectly good for eating. This can equate to costing less than $.20/lb which is when I buy several bags. When they do start to get a bit more mushy and spotted, they are perfect for making banana bread. Bananas also freeze beautifully (just remove from the peel first and store in a freezer friendly sealed bag).
This banana bread recipe can be made according to your preference. You can make it with all AP flour, 1/2 AP flour + 1/2 whole white wheat flour, less sugar, applesauce in place of some of the butter (I do recommend you have at least some butter in it for the best texture), chocolate chips, walnuts, etc. It’s a very forgiving recipe. Just be sure to mash, mash, mash the bananas very well so that it resembles baby food puree. This way you don’t have any chunks when you slice the bread.
Best Ever Banana Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan or a 12-cup muffin tin.
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1/2 AP flour and 1/2 white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt*
1/2 cup butter, softened**
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 mashed, overripe bananas (remember to mash these until no lumps remain)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
In the bowl of a mixer, combine butter and sugar and mix on medium-high speed until creamy. Add mashed bananas and mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients, including the cinnamon, if using. Add to wet ingredients slowly using slow speed to combine. Do not overmix.
At this point you can add chocolate chips, nuts, etc. You’ll want to gently stir these in with a spoon.
Pour batter into loaf pan or into muffin cups (don’t use paper liners as these will stick to much to the muffins; fill 3/4 full). If making a loaf, bake for 60-65 minutes or so. If making muffins, check them at 25 minutes by inserting an uncooked spaghetti noodle into the center. If dough is still gooey, return to oven and keep checking every 5 minutes.
Remove from oven once done and cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to finish cooling on a wire rack.
*if using salted butter, reduce salt to 1/8 teaspoon
**you may use 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup butter OR 1/4 applesauce and 1/4 coconut oil in place of the 1/2 cup butter
Delicious served warm or cold with peanut butter, almond butter or nutella. Enjoy!
Note: This also freezes beautifully. Wrap loaf/muffins in aluminum foil and place inside a freezer-friendly sealed bag.