Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Banana Bread

Something about autumn makes me want to bake and bake, and then bake a bit more, as though we didn't have enough baked treats around already. During the hot summer months, it's hard to justify heating up the entire house for a loaf of bread or a cake that you're too hot to really want in the first place. During the fall, however, I adore the warmth radiating from the stovetop and the tantalizing baking aromas that waft through the house.

My post last week on spiced pumpkin bread got me thinking about, and of course craving, my mom's banana bread. I absolutely love it, but for some reason I've never gotten around to asking her for the recipe. We had a bunch of very, very ripe bananas on our counter for the past few days, which meant that there was only one thing to do! One weekend night at around midnight, when it was way too late to call and beg for the recipe, I realised that tweaking the pumpkin bread recipe might just do the trick.

Instead of pumpkin, I used four medium-sized, very ripe mashed bananas, along with 1/2 cup of roasted, mashed acorn squash that I found languishing in the 'fridge. This particular squash had such a subtle taste that I hoped it would add substance and texture without overpowering the banana flavour. I also omitted the heaping teaspoons of spices, opting instead for 1 teaspoon of allspice and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. And, as I usually do, I omitted the walnuts.

The bread came out golden and moist, with a pronounced, pleasant banana flavour. It tasted almost exactly like my mom's version. The recipe makes two large loaves, so once it had cooled, one loaf went right into the freezer. It will probably be eaten next week for weekday breakfasts.

Of course, there's nothing quite like a recipe that you grew up adoring, but I'm thrilled that this is pretty darn close!

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