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The kids love muffins. I love banana bread! Making a week of snacks for Junior’s preschool class has me getting out all kinds of recipes, including this one. The original recipe is from my faithful 2nd edition Joy of Cooking. I took blue ribbons at the fair with it as a kid, and you can tell it’s a favorite recipe because the cookbook opens right to it and there’s batter splats on the page!

The trick to awesome banana flavor in banana bread is to really let the bananas go. They should be darn near black and not quite liquid. Not only does it crank the flavor up, but it adds tons of moisture. This recipe is naturally low-sugar and low-fat because of that.

If you’re planning to make banana bread, watch at the grocery for mark-down bananas. Around here they run 20 to 30 cents a pound less, and you want them all mushy anyway.

Quick Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cups shortening
2/3 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups ripe banana pulp

Optional additions:
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts

This works best if all ingredients are room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl blend shortening, sugar, and lemon rind until creamy. Add eggs and banana to the sugar mixture.

Add the sifted ingredients in about three parts to the sugar mixture, beating the batter after each addition until smooth. Fold in any nuts or other goodies.

Place the batter in a greased bread pan and bake for one hour or until done. For muffins, bake 15-20 minutes. Makes one loaf or 12 muffins.

Usually with muffins or quick breads you want to mix them as little as possible or they get tough, but that’s not true with this recipe, mix it very thoroughly. If the bread will last in your house, wait until it’s completely cool before cutting – the steam escaping will make it go stale faster. That’s not usually a problem around here.

For the kiddies I made blueberry banana muffins!

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