This recipe is from the 1997 revision of the Joy of Cooking.
There is at least one step in the Joy recipe (mixing the butter and sugar with a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes) that I skip.
Doing so may make a slightly lighter loaf, but I find it unnecessary.
Makes 1 full-sized loaf or 2 small loaves
Preheat the oven to 350.
In one bowl, combine:
1/2 stick (4-5 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 or 3 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup sugar
Use a potato masher, fork, or spoon to squish the banana and mix the ingredients together. It is alright for there to be small (1 centimeter) chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the banana to be reduced to mush.
In another bowl, combine:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.
If you like, stir in additional ingredients here, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, dried cherries or apricots, or chocolate chips. A handful (about a half a cup) is about right.
Pour the dough into greased baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Small loaves take around 30 minutes, a normal-sized loaf takes around 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven. This bread is great warm, but it is excellent cold too.
After they have cooled for 5 or 10 minutes the loaves can be removed from the pan to cool. Once they are cool they can be individually wrapped and frozen.
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