The Best Banana Bread in the World

Dear Vi,

Outside the snow is coming down fast and furious, and it’s just the perfect kind of snow, too. Light and fluffy. The kind that squeaks when you walk on it. Not, thank goodness, the heavy wet coastal snow that soaks through every layer and chills you to the bone. Nope! Right now, today, we’re in the Goldilocks zone as far as snow goes. And we’re predicted to get up to 10 inches of it.

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Ignoring all the shoveling that needs to be done, I decided to bake banana bread instead.

Do you have a bread machine? I don’t.

Well, I do, but it actually belongs to my son, so technically I don’t. But I have the use of one, which is just as good.

And just so you don’t mistake me, the only thing I use it for is making banana bread. All other bread (by which I mean yeast bread) I make from scratch with my own two hands, no magic allowed, if you don’t count the oven. Or the yeast. Yeast is a little bit magical, don’t you think?

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Right now, while snow fills my driveway, the wonderful smell of baking banana loaf is filling my house. Can you smell it??  Yup, I know. You’re welcome.

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So, do you have a bread machine?? If you do, here’s my advice: drop everything and go dig it out of the closet right now. Next, take a handful (that’s three) bananas out of your freezer. We both know you’ve got enough bananas in there to feed all the monkeys in the zoo.

I kid you not, the best banana bread in the entire world is made in a bread machine. I don’t know why, and I don’t care.

Here’s my recipe, which I have modified a bit from the original.

Nita’s Magic Bread Machine Banana Bread

In a big bowl, combine the following in the order listed:

  • 2/3 cup milk (I used lactose-free milk because of some dairy issues I’m having at the moment)
  • 3 mashed over-ripe bananas
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar (I use a scant cup because the bananas are so sweet on their own)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Stir together and spoon into the bread pan. Insert the bread pan into your bread machine. Select Quick Bread. If you get a colour option, select medium. Push start.

Yup. It’s that easy. You’re welcome.

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Apple Betty Coffee Cake

It’s Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means Apples! My neighbour down the road has a lovely little orchard full of spartan apples and I picked three boxes! They are out in the cool of my garage, just waiting for me to cook with them.

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I stumbled upon this apple cake recipe and tweaked it up a bit to suit me. I’m calling it Apple Betty Coffee Cake because it reminds me of my (self-proclaimed) world-famous Apple Betty. This coffee cake makes it’s own crumbly topping, is fast and easy to prepare, goes great with a cup of coffee, is perfect for last-minute guests, and keeps well. Bake it today and serve it tomorrow!

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Chop up 3 cups of apples (that’s about 3 medium-sized apples). Whatever grows on your neighbour’s tree will work just fine. I don’t peel them, but you can if you want to.

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Put the diced apples into a large mixing bowl and dump 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon and 1 heaping teaspoon baking power over top. Stir it up until the apples are coated. Now, pour 1/4 cup cooking oil into a 1-cup measuring cup. Add 1 egg and 1 generous teaspoon of vanilla. Stir until it’s all blended together. Pour it over the apple mixture and stir, stir, stir until it is all stirred together. The batter will be very thick and glumpy. (Is glumpy a word? It is now!)

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Grease and flour a baking pan (I used a round cake pan, but a 9″ square pan will also work). Spoon the batter in and bake for 40 – 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heaven couldn’t taste better than this. Honestly.

Nita’s Apple Betty Coffee Cake

Mix together:
3 c. apples, chopped
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 generous tsp. cinnamon
1 generous tsp. baking powder

Mix together:
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 egg
1 generous teaspoon vanilla

Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir well until everything is mixed together. Spoon into one greased & floured cake pan. Bake at 350 approx 40 – 45 minutes.

Let me know if you give it a try!

Sourdough!

Kelly had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Whitehorse earlier this month, so I took the opportunity to have him bring home some authentic Klondike sourdough starter.

014It came in a jam jar, well wrapped in plastic and carefully stowed in his suitcase. Good thing, too, because it had started to grow on it’s journey, and had overflowed the jar and into the wrappings when it arrived. I fed it and transferred it into a new jar.

015The cool thing about this starter is that it has a very venerable genealogy! It was carried over the Chilkoot Trail in the late 1800s by a member of the Honorable Ione Christiansen‘s family on her mother’s side.  Ione Christiansen was the first woman to be named as Justice of the Peace for the Yukon Territorial Government, the first woman to be elected Mayor of the City of Whitehorse and the first female Commissioner of the Yukon. 

AAHistory-book-idea-pic-pg-4It is in the nature of sourdough starter to be shared, and a long time ago Ione Christiansen’s family member shared her starter with Charlie Taylor, of the Taylor and Drury family of merchants.

Taylor_C1929Charlie and his wife Betty shared some with their friend Millie Jones of Carcross, Yukon.

 

Millie JonesAnd Millie shared some with me! Millie Jones is a long-time Yukoner and is the mother of my friend Heather, who carried the jar of starter from Millie and delivered it to Kelly last week. Below is a pic of Heather creating some beautiful art (check out her website)

Foxy HeatherMore than four generations of Yukon history came to me in that little jar of sourdough starter!

It’s sort of like a sacred trust, you know?

016I have never baked with sourdough before and I was excited to give it my first try. So yesterday I made a loaf of bread.

033Oh my goodness! It is good, good, good! Especially the toast the next morning!

I had some left over, so I split it (saving half for future use) and we had breakfast for supper last night: sourdough pancakes made with Betty Taylor’s dad’s sourdough pancake recipe.

031The batter was thinner than the “regular” made from scratch batter that I usually make.

028The pancakes were very light.

029Delicious with butter and real maple syrup.

030Afterwards, I fed the starter again and then split it into two. Half went back into the jar and into the fridge, and half went into a bowl to grow overnight so that I can bake another loaf of bread today. And maybe some muffins.

I lived in the Yukon for 26 years, so…
no matter where I go,
I will always be
a Sourdough.

And now I can eat some, too!

🙂