From the moment I met you, I knew our time together was fleeting. I remember the day…. No. The instant we first crossed paths like it was just last week.
It was a slow Sunday afternoon, the kind where time feels ethereal. I had a mountain of assignments on my mind, but before I could consider any of them I had to contend with the nagging void at my core. I was really hungry.
I found myself wandering from aisle to aisle, lost in the romantic lighting and gentle Ed Sheeran of the Chestnut Hill Wegmans. I didn’t know what in particular I was searching for—I miss when my mom bought my groceries—but all doubt left my mind when I finally stumbled into the produce department and laid eyes on you.
You were so youthful. Your peel was smooth, unblemished, and the perfect shade—mustard yellow with traces of vibrant green on your edges and stem. Once I had found you, I knew you would be coming home with me.
Checkout was a whirlwind of passion and excitement. I bagged the rest of my groceries quickly and carelessly, but you received my full attention and gentle care. I placed you gingerly at the top of all my bags, careful not to bruise or bump you before leaving the store. I was 15 cents poorer in my bank account, but I felt infinitely richer in my soul. I thought we would be happy together for a long time, but every romantic story needs its conflict, right?
I was naive and failed to consider the truth. Bananas change. I put you on top of my microwave, expecting you to always be there when I needed you, but where was I when you needed me? I got caught up in class, assignments, friends, and a million other excuses, and the entire time you were there, atop the microwave, waiting for me.
When I discovered you again, you were no longer an embodiment of youthful beauty. Your peel had become thin, flat, and dull. Your original yellow color had become tarnished and populated with brown and black spots. All green was gone. You were a different fruit than the day on which I met you, and I was devastated at that moment but only because I had yet to realize the truth… the truth of your inner beauty.
Time had made you sweet and soft, perhaps too sweet and soft to be consumed alone, but you now had the opportunity to be a part of something greater than yourself. I preheated the oven, collected the rest of my ingredients, and began the passionate dance of mashing and mixing.
You emerged from the oven more beautiful than I could have imagined, and filled my apartment with tantalizing aromas of banana, vanilla, and browned butter. At that moment, I felt the kind of happiness that I imagine a parent feels when they first meet their newborn or a cat lady feels when she receives a new kitten. You had become a beautiful banana bread. Thank you.
Jokes aside, I’ve been making this version of a banana bread recipe I discovered on Food Network since high school, and the small additions such as browning your butter or adding vanilla and chocolate chips turn something already classic and delicious into one of the best desserts I’ve personally ever made. I hope you give it a try next time your bananas aren’t looking too spry!
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
Preheat oven to 325℉. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook until the solid milk fats have separated. Remove from heat when the milk fats are just beginning to turn blonde and let butter cool. Next, in a large mixing bowl, mash ripe bananas before adding granulated sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Once sugar and spices are incorporated, add eggs one at a time, mixing between. Add milk and now cooled butter to the wet mixture and set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until few lumps remain and there are no dry spots. Pour half of the batter into a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, and sprinkle chocolate chips in an even layer. Cover chocolate chips with the remaining batter and bake for one hour to one hour and ten minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs but no wet batter. After removing the bread from the oven, brush the top with honey while still warm. You’re now ready to enjoy some amazing banana bread, warm or cold (if it lasts that long). Enjoy!
Cover photo courtesy of Simply Recipes