Bananas are a tasty fruit and I love them for eating out of hand or in salads, sometimes even fried, but in my mind the best use you can put a banana to is in banana bread. Nothing better than taking a black skinned, soft luscious dead ripe banana and turning it into a delicious loaf of banana bread. The one I grew up eating is the best in my opinion. It is a bit heavy like most quick breads and it has a very strong, yet not overpowering, banana flavor. My mom got this recipe from family friend and long time neighbor, Bea Drury and it was scrawled on a recipe card that was in Mama's old Betty Crocker Cookbook for as long as I can remember. Here it goes:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
3 peeled and mashed bananas
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup flour
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and bananas. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Spoon into a greased and floured loaf pan or you can spoon into greased and floured muffin tins. Bake in a preheated oven set to 350 degrees, about 45 minutes for the loaf pan or until the top is domed, cracked and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. It will be a deep brown color. Allow to cool about 15-20 minutes in the pan before removing to finish cooling on a rack. Don't try slicing until it is completely cooled.
Variations: You can but a butter, flour and sugar streusel topping on the cupcakes before baking. Just cut 1/4 cup butter into 1/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup white sugar, until it make crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the batter in the cupcake tins before baking.
I have also doubled this recipe and baked it in a 9X13 inch cake pan and it turned out great! When I've done that I've also put the streusel topping on it and it made a great coffee cake.
When you make it in a loaf pan, if you want a fancy little thing to serve to guests. Slice the bread in fairly thin slices. Make a cream cheese frosting and spread a bit on one slice of the banana bread, then top with a second slice. Cut into halves or quarters. Quite tasty and pretty too!