Like so many other people, I welcomed in the new year with a glass of champagne and high hopes that 2016 would be fabulous. Well, so far it's been quite the disaster.
From the dreaded middle of the night phone call from one of my kids, that ended up with a trip to the emergency room, to job losses and jobs not gotten, I have to ask myself what the heck is going on?
And there's the terrible flu that has hit all of my grandchildren and one my daughters so hard, the car that broke down, money that should have come but has not ... it's enough to make me crazy.
I know enough about life by now to know that the beginning of a new year doesn't really change anything. Nothing magical takes place just because it's January 1st. But of course, what choice do we have but to go forward, and have faith that things will get better.
And I know they will get better, and that maybe the things that have happened somehow needed to happen. I don't know why, I don't have the answers, but I can pull my family around me tighter, still be thankful for our many blessings, and keep strongly going forward.
So to help me cope with all this, I made banana bread. Yes, that might sound a little silly, but I never underestimate the power of a cup of tea and a little treat. Trust me, it can be a comfort when you feel that life is just dumping too much on you at one time.
This banana nut bread is really delicious. It's soft and moist, and smells amazing. And it's a great way to use up those bananas that have turned brown that nobody wants to eat. I always recommend wrapping it up tightly in tin foil so that it retains that moistness and great flavor.
It's always an option to double the recipe to make two loaves, giving the extra loaf to somebody you know that might be having a hard time. It's a sweet gesture that can make all the difference to someone who is feeling down.
Recipe for Banana Walnut Bread
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for preparing the pan
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork (about 1 cup
- 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with baking spray or melted butter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl, set aside.
With a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg mixture, beat another 1 minute. Add the bananas and mix just until incorporated.
With a spatula, add the flour and mix together. Fold in the walnuts. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the loaf to a wire rack to finish cooling.