I spent a good part of Saturday engaged in that greatest of all post-winter rituals: Spring Cleaning. As always, it was necessary, cathartic, and, in the end, exhausting. I must say, I had envisioned my Spring Cleaning to be, well, a little more Spring-like. I pictured myself throwing open the windows, letting in the sounds of birds chirping (and the rumbling El train, too, of course) and a gentle breeze. Instead, given the frigid forecast, I cranked up the heat and proceeded to banish my sweaters to storage. In a cruel twist of fate, it would begin snowing that very night leaving me sweaterless and shivering on a cold Sunday morning. Hrmph.
But aside from my sweaterless-ness, I discovered the same thing I do every time I go on a cleaning binge—hidden treasure. I rediscovered a few old favorites that had been hanging in my closet, shoved to the edges, forgotten for months. I unearthed a couple gems in the kitchen too: my apron (why did I stop wearing it?); a vanilla bean tucked in the back corner of a cupboard (not exactly a gold dubloon, but close); three speckled bananas at the bottom of a bowl of fruit sitting on the counter.
In the spirit of rediscovering and repurposing—the best parts of Spring Cleaning, if you ask me—I thought I’d put those perfectly ripened bananas to use in a loaf of banana bread and that I’d share my recipe with you again. It’s been a while since the first time I posted about the banana bread and my recipe (and photography situation) has changed a little bit since then. (Don’t worry, though—it’s still moist and fragrant and the top still splits just so as it bakes.)
I still love this banana bread more than I can tell you. The smell of it baking—cinnamony, homey and warm—is pure Sunday to me. And the promise of a thick slice with my coffee, as I log in to my computer at work, is enough to make me look forward to Monday morning, just a little bit.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk, well shaken
heaping 1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups white whole-wheat flour (other flours will work, but this is my favorite)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
Meanwhile, whisk together the mashed bananas, egg whites, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.
Once the butter-sugar mixture is light and fluffy, scrape down the bowl and, with the mixer running on low speed, add the banana mixture; beat until well combined. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture; beat until just combined. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter in the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, on a rack. Turn out onto the rack and allow to cool completely.