Somebody’s Grandma’s Banana Bread

Occasionally I forget to look around the house before I find myself in the grocery store on lunch hour, wondering if we have bananas. And then we end up with too many bananas.

This is a terrific recipe for banana bread, but it’s not my grandmother’s. For one thing, no one in my family is “Grandma”. Women who’s children have children are addressed by their name, say “Martha”, or by their title and surname, as in “Grandma Burnham”. That goes double for recipe cards. The card for this recipe is so stained and creased that I’m not sure who wrote it but it doesn’t matter. This is the fix for when you’ve been to the store without a list. Again.

Grandma’s Banana Bread/Cake

Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour a 9″ tube pan.

Toast 1/2 C walnuts or pecans in a frying pan until “sweating” and fragrant. Process them in the food processor until chopped fairly small. Don’t clean the bowl. Empty the nuts into a bowl and mix with 1 Tbs of the flour and spice mixture below. Sometimes I add 1/2 C raisins to the mix. Set aside. This recipe calls for 1 C mashed bananas. I regularly throw 3 into the cuisinart and process until smooth. I think you get more banana taste that way. Set aside.

Combine in a small bowl: 2 C flour (can be partially whole wheat), 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp allspice (optional, but I like it).

In a large bowl cream 1/2 C shortening (I use melted butter, but anything goes here), 1 C sugar. Add two eggs and 1 tsp vanilla and beat well. Use neighbor-lady eggs if you can get them.

Add the flour mixture, then the bananas, then the nuts and stir everything together. Dump it into the tube pan and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the bread is quite browned on top and firm to the touch.

I’ve frosted this bread with orange cream cheese frosting (which is delicious), but more often I serve it with butter and jam for tea.

I had a friend, years ago, who couldn’t stomach the tiny pieces of flour that occasionally stick to the walnuts and raisins in this cake. I found him picking them out at the dinner table one night, and thereafter mixed the nuts with cocoa so it didn’t show. I have no idea how wide-spread that affliction may be, so use that information if you have to, down the line.

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