Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Banana Walnut Bread

On this day that seemed to be a snow day for everyone else,  my office mates and I made it in to work.  We drove from near and far to get there when other schools in the area were all closed.  We all waited for the morning notification that there might be an official snow day, but it didn't come so we all went out into the storm and found ourselves, finally, at work.  My drive in was OK, a little slippery here and there, but I took it slow and easy.  I needed gas for my car and stopped at Stewart's and got $7.00 worth of gas - all the cash I had in my pocket.  The town roads near my home were slippery but by the time I got to the county roads I felt a little less stressed driving.  Other people in my office came from distances too, and we were all glad to see each other.  One woman in my office, Kyle, decided to give herself a break and avoid driving in this weather, and called a taxi to bring  her to work today.  Unfortunately, the taxi driver didn't take Kyle's advice and attempted to drive up East Avenue hill toward North Broadway.  Anyone who knows the area knows that East Avenue hill is to be avoided during a snow storm.  The cab ended up in a ditch and Kyle decided to leave the cab behind and walked the rest of the way to work.  From our offices, we watched all day as the storm slowed, and eventually, just before evening fell, the sun tried to poke out.  I captured that rare, bright moment on my cell phone's camera. 

My trip home from work was even more precarious than the ride in.  If I had been just seconds ahead of myself, my car would have been in a collision with the car that barely missed me as I was headed south on Middle Grove Road.  A car approaching the Grange Road intersection with Middle Grove Road never stopped at all.  As I approached the intersection, the car just kept going and crossed in front of mine, missing me by just a few feet.  I was going about 30 miles per hour and her car just flew through the intersection.  I applied my brakes but lightly because I didn't want to spin out.  I was OK and kept going.  In my rear-view mirror, I could see that her car spun and ended up in a snow bank on the other side of the road.  I realized I was just seconds away from a bad collision, and I was very grateful, and very careful, the rest of the way home.

Tonight I am baking a banana walnut bread for my office mates, and will bring it into work with me tomorrow.  It is made with a familiar batter of no particular recipe, just one I've made up and adapted over the years.  It made enough batter to fill a bundt pan and two mini-loaf pans.  I'm hoping it comes out as well as it usually does.  I think my friends at work deserve a nice loaf of banana bread after the challenges we had just getting to and from work today!  It's in the oven right now and it smells great already.

BANANA WALNUT BREAD  (bundt cake size)

Grease/flour or spray 12-cup bundt pan.
  • 4 over-ripe bananas
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk soured with 1 teaspoon vinegar (or 1/2 cup buttermilk)
  • 4 eggs
In mixing bowl, mash bananas well.  Add oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and sour milk and mix until very well combined.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  Add to the wet and mix until well combined.
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Stir in chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared pan (leaving at least an inch space at top) and bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake tests done (when knife or skewer comes out clean after it is inserted in the center).  Mini-loaf pans take about 30 minutes - test for doneness.    Cool in pan for 15 minutes (no longer), turn out onto cooling rack.  Wrap when completely cooled.


  1. thanks for the photo, Jeannie. Takes me back to my days in Saratoga Springs when I attended Skidmore. The sky looked like that on so many winter days.

  2. hey jeannie this is becca at saratoga arms... i have started to venture into doing the onsite baking. and as we already loved your baking so much ive been using you recipies, with pretty good results. im going to attempt this bread today however i dont see a bake temp. im going to guess its the same as a coffee cake, or atleast hope so. as ill be making those today as well! thanks, hope all is well!

    1. Hi Becca! Glad you're doing the baking - I really miss seeing my friends. Saratoga Arms is the BEST! Sorry to have omitted the baking temp. It's 375 degrees F. Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions. Always happy to help!