One of my wedding gifts from my Nana (my dad’s mother) was a collection of her favorite recipes to add to my recipe box. They’re not the recipes I make all the time – most of them are desserts and special occasion foods – but some of them are real treasures.
I occasionally, like many people, purchase too many bananas. I eat them frequently, but some weeks I end up forgetting about them until they start to be past their raw-eating-prime. (AKA they turn black and smushy)
Usually when this happens, I make smoothies.
At one point, however, I decided to see if I had a good banana bread recipe around. While digging through my recipe box, I came across one in my Nana’s handwriting, but the recipe isn’t hers. The recipe belonged to her mother in law, my Great-Nana Erma Martoccio, who lived in New York in the early 1900’s. She is largely responsible for my Nana being an amazing cook, since my Nana is a farm girl from rural Tennessee and only comes by her Italian cooking by marriage.
It’s a very simple recipe, with no particularly special ingredients, but the bread is spectacular. (It is neither low fat nor low calorie, but this is special-occasion bread.)
Anna’s Great-Nana’s Banana Nut Bread
Recipe courtesy of Erma Martoccio
- Two regular loaf pans or three “small” loaf pans
- A mixer
- A large bowl, a small bowl, the usual assortment of measuring cups, a spatula
- 3/4 c. butter
- 1 1/2c. sugar
- 1 1/2c. mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 1/2 c. buttermilk, divided
- 2 c. flour, divided
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Optional: 3/4 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)
- Optional: 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
I also usually make this in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment, but you can easily do it with a hand mixer and a spatula.
- Preheat oven to 325F. Grease the bottoms only of your loaf pans with non-stick spray or butter. I use three 1.2 quart Pyrex glass loaf pans (they have red lids, and are, I think, storage dishes, but they bake just fine).
- Cream together the butter and the sugar. While the mixer is going, crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork.
- Blend in the mashed bananas, beaten eggs, and vanilla
- Add, in order and mixing on low speed in between, 1/4c. buttermilk, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4c. butter milk and the final cup of flour.
- With the spatula, gently mix in the nuts and chocolate chips, if using.
- Divide the batter evenly between the loaf pans.
- If using two 9×5 loaf pans, bake for 70-75 minutes. If using three smaller loaf pans, bake for 50-55 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean, and the loaves should be golden brown and delicious. The tops of the loaves may crack – that’s OK (even desirable).
This recipe freezes well and will keep in the refrigerator (cooled completely and wrapped well) for at least a week or two… but it never lasts that long in my house. The chocolate chips are my own idea and not in the original recipe, but they are quite a delicious addition, if I do say so myself.