Boarding school—good and bad memories

Updated: Jun 17



When I was in boarding school, I had a really hard time adjusting to the food. Going to the dining room for meals was my least favorite activity. They served an abundance of carbs along with heavy sauces that covered up mounds of food I was never able to identify.

As far as I was concerned, the food wasn’t good. I’m certain there were a lot of people who would disagree with me, but having grown up in France with lots of fresh food, I couldn’t get used to what they served.

But there was one thing that I loved—banana bread. On the days they made it the kitchen fans would exhaust that wonderful aroma into the air around school and our mouths would start watering. Occasionally, we would convince the kitchen staff to let us have a few slices just out of the oven when it was still warm.

But they didn’t make it often enough, and I guessed it was because they had to wait to get a large enough stash of overly ripe bananas.

That was long ago and to this day I haven’t found a banana bread that's been as good as my boarding school's.

Recently we bought too many bananas and they were getting over-ripe on the counter. So, there was only one thing to do!

I tried a basic banana bread recipe but I wasn’t happy with the results. The banana flavor wasn’t strong enough and the bread was a bit dry and slightly overcooked on top and on the sides.

So I tried again. (I happened to have over-ripe bananas in the freezer.) This time I adjusted the recipe by adding more bananas to increase the flavor and to add more moisture. About halfway through the cooking process, I loosely covered the pan with foil to prevent the top and sides from overcooking.

It worked; the results were great.


Moist and Delicious Banana Bread

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Preheat oven to 350º

Lower the oven rack to the lower third of the oven

Grease 9x5” loaf pan

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour (measure the flour by spooning it into the cup and leveling it off)

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, room temperature

¾ cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 ¾ cups mashed over-ripe bananas

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: ¾ cups chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy.

  2. On medium speed, add one egg at a time, combining well before adding the second egg.

  3. Add the mashed bananas and vanilla until combined.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt and sift to blend.

  5. On low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until the mixture is just moist and the flour is combined. Do not overmix.

  6. If you are using walnuts fold them in.

  7. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and place in the oven.

  8. Bake for about 60 minutes.

  9. After the bread starts to brown (about 30 minutes), cover the pan loosely with foil.

  10. When you start smelling the aroma of banana bread check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center; if it comes out clean it is done.

  11. Remove it from the oven and place on cooling rack about 10 minutes.

  12. Slide a knife around the edge of the pan and turn the bread out placing it, bottom down, on the rack until it is completely cool.

Since I like banana bread warm, I discovered that putting a slice in the microwave for 15 seconds heated it perfectly and kept it moist.





 


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Bon Appétit
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