Thursday, August 29, 2013

Going Bananas in the Land of St. Honore'

She woke with a start. It had been a horrible dream. The twins, her granddaughters who live on the other side of the country, were grown up in the dream. One was a dental tech and the other was a personal trainer at a gym...and neither one of them knew what to do with the ingredients on the kitchen counter in her dream; the softened butter, the sugar, flour, molasses, eggs, nuts, chocolate chips. They had a birth right, as anyone in our land has, to bake, yet they had no idea how to measure flour, soften butter, or even how to crack an egg. This was terrible! No child in the Land of St. Honore' should be flummoxed about baking something.

Eva decided she would do something so that this dream never became a reality. Well, maybe they would become a personal trainer and a dental tech, but she would make sure that they knew how to bake. Not only would they not be mystified at the sight of an egg, they would know how to separate eggs and whisk whites and bake a lovely, light, luscious, delectable cake.

First she waited until a decent hour, then called her daughter, their mom. She had to time the call just right because Grace would be leaving home soon to go to work. She was a CPA high up in her firm. Although she had been taught, she never baked. 'No time' was her excuse.

"Grace, I would love to have the girls visit me at Christmas, or even Thanksgiving, if that's possible. I know that they are always busy with volleyball and chess club and the debate team, but could you find a few days when they could spend a little time with me?" Eva was tempted to add "before its too late" but didn't think her daughter would be so easily led.

Grace had a particularly difficult client at the moment, so she agreed. Better that her girls have some fun instead of being saddled with a babysitter when she had to work extra. At eleven years old they were getting a bit beyond babysitters anyway.

Eva was thrilled. They were coming the day before Thanksgiving. They could bake pies for Thanksgiving, perhaps make dinner rolls, and surely they could make a cake, too. She could hardly wait!

Plans changed and they arrived the day after Thanksgiving. No one wanted pies or dinner rolls and a cake seemed too rich after all the holiday food. Still, there were some ripe bananas to use up. Time to bake a classic banana bread...with a twist. She wanted to use molasses and to add chocolate chips, just for fun.

The girls were a bit hesitant at first, but soon got into the swing of things, measuring flour and sugar, mashing bananas, and, yes, cracking some eggs and finding out that bits of shells could be removed from the eggs in the bowl, with care.

They giggled at the slow movement of the molasses and had fun getting their fingers greasy while using the butter wrapper to grease the bread pan.

Their faces beamed with big smiles when they brought the first piece of baked banana bread to their Granddad. They were even happier when he exclaimed over the texture, flavor and deliciousness. They were hooked! Eva knew that on their next visit that they would bake that cake with her. Their heritage was intact.

You, too, can keep the arts of baking alive. This banana bread is easy, uses up very ripe bananas, and can be packed in a lunchbox or used as an afternoon pickup or quick bite in the morning. If you make it with half regular flour and half whole wheat flour it is almost healthy...after all, it has fruit.

Banana Bread with Walnuts and Chocolate
makes one loaf

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup molasses, dark is best
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 ripe bananas (or 2 large), mashed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan (you can use the butter wrapper if you've already put the soft butter into the mixing bowl. That is what the twins did).

Beat butter, molasses and sugar together until fluffy. It's OK if it looks curdled.

Add eggs and banana pulp and beat well.

Add sifted dry ingredient's, vanilla, and buttermilk. Mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in nuts, and chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake about 1 hour. Test for doneness with a toothpick in center. When done, toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs on it. Cool well.

Store overnight before cutting...if you can wait that long. A serrated knife makes cutting easier.


  1. You could be a childrens writer. Lovely story and lovely looking banana bread. I love the idea of adding a little molasses. Looks wonderful

  2. hehe, so delighted to see you again in the land of St Honore! Lovely banana bread!

  3. I am thrilled to read that you use a butter wrapper to grease the pan! That's what I saw my mom and granny do when I was little. Fun write-up and yes, consider a children short story baking book to keep the art alive!

  4. I love this!! Both the story and the banana bread.

    (We always used the butter wrapper to grease the pan too - in fact, I still do if I'm finishing up the package of butter in the baking.)