My mother’s recipe box has a lot of banana bread recipes in it. Since I like numbers and facts, I was going to count them today. However, I abandoned that project after looking at the third card in the box. It was a recipe for Hawaiian Banana Bread that had no pineapple, macadamia nuts or coconuts. I was intrigued. Why call it Hawaiian?
Mom’s note said “Patsy’s from Mrs. Deckert. Very good.” So I grabbed the cell phone and called my sister.
After telling her of my aborted banana bread counting project I asked, “Why do you call it Hawaiian?”
“That’s what Mrs. Deckert called it,” she said. “I don’t know why she did, but it’s our favorite banana bread. You should try it.”
She explained how she got the recipe. “When we were first married, we bought a house in Northwoods Beach south of Hayward. Mrs. Deckert lived across the road and next to the town hall across from our house. She was the nicest little old lady. She had a strong German accent and came over to welcome us when we moved in. She brought us a loaf of her Hawaiian Banana Bread. I asked for her recipe and later gave it to Mom. Mrs. Deckert used to bring us Kuchen too. It was delicious but I never got that recipe.”
Bananas do grow in Hawaii, so maybe that explains the name.
Too lazy to go back to my recipe counting project, I decided to see how many banana bread recipes would show up on a search of the Internet. The answer is, A LOT. Even more than recipes for zucchini bread, a notoriously prolific squash that frugal cooks desperately keep trying to use up every summer.
My Google search returned about 3,260,000 results for zucchini bread but over 7,750,000 for banana bread. If each banana bread recipe were written on a standard three by five-inch recipe card and laid end to end, you could mark the route all the way from St. Paul, Minnesota, to Rapid City, South Dakota with enough cards left over to guide you most of the way to Mount Rushmore.
The zucchini bread cards would run out at Sioux Falls.
This is another really easy recipe. Just cut the shortening into the dry ingredients before folding in the banana and eggs. No electric mixer and just a little stirring. Here is what you do.
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350º and mash enough bananas to fill a measuring cup. Grease and flour two bread loaf pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda into a mixing bowl. With a pastry blender or table fork, cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until it looks like coarse corn meal. This is like the first step in making pie crust.
Beat the eggs in a small bowl until they are lemon-colored. Fold the mashed bananas and eggs into the flour mixture until everything is moist and put half of the batter into each pan.
Set the pans on the center shelf in the oven and bake for thirty to forty minutes. Check for doneness at thirty minutes. A toothpick inserted near the center of the bread should come out clean.
Remove the pans from the oven and let them stand for about six minutes to cool slightly. Then loosen the loaves and transfer them to a rack to finish cooling.
NOTES: Patsy says that you can bake this bread in one standard loaf pan if you want. Extend the baking time to an hour and test for doneness before taking it from the oven.
Frugal shoppers watch for discounted bananas at the supermarket. Produce managers often reduce the price on bananas starting to get brown streaks on the peel as they ripen. If you want bananas to peel and eat raw, buy ones with little or no brown on them, but if you want to make banana bread, pick ones that are turning brown or take yellow bananas home and let them ripen on the counter. They get sweeter and sweeter.
This recipe produces two five by nine-inch loaves a little more than an inch thick. Maybe because you cut the shortening into the dry ingredients, the bread is a bit darker than most banana breads, but it is delicate and flavorful.