I was one of the lucky kids who grew up knowing not only my grandparents but also one set of my great grandparents. My great grandpa died in 1998, 10 days shy of his 108th birthday and my great grandma died in 2002. Both in November. Great Grandpa was the 13th and Great Grandma was the 1st. Some people make fun of me because I remember dates really well and I sometimes really wonder how I do it. But I can remember my great grandpas because of a story. In October of that year he asked my great grandma if November had a Friday the 13th. She told him no, she thought it was Saturday the 13th. Then the week before Friday November 13th, he asked her again if next Friday was the 13th. She said, yes I believe it is. His response was, That’s a good day. He passed away on Friday the 13th.
This week also happens to be National FFA week. I was a huge member of the National FFA and went on to earn my American Farmer degree which is the highest honor in the FFA. My dad was also a FFA member and when I joined the FFA he made the comment, I only got as high as my state degree… I challenge you to get your American. I told him that first day I was a FFA member that I would achieve my American degree for both of us. In 2002, that dream became a reality. I filled out the paperwork and got notification that I had received my American FFA Degree. I was to walk across state in Louisville, KY, Saturday November 1st, 2002. Earlier in October my parents made arrangements to drive down to Louisville to watch me walk across stage, all of this unknown to me. They wanted to surprise me. Unfortunately those plans were changed when my great grandma passed away. And the funny thing was my dad left me a voicemail on my cell phone that said he and my mom were so proud of me and that I needed to call him when I got home. I knew right then something wasn’t right.
So why bring up all these weird memories when talking about Banana Bread… Good questions. Well truth be told… one of my fondest memories of going to my Great Grandmother’s house was she ALWAYS had Banana Bread and let me tell you, she made THE. BEST. Banana Bread. If it wasn’t fresh out of the oven, she always had a spare in the freezer she’d pull out, pop in the oven, and serve to me. I’m telling you, even her frozen stuff was the best.
I think my whole live I have loved Banana Bread. Obviously there are some recipes I prefer over others as I’m not a huge fan of nuts. My mom made some once that she put craisins in that I wasn’t a huge fan of either. Craisins are okay, but don’t mess with my banana bread 😀. The sad fact of the matter though is I have never been able to come up with my great grandma’s recipe. I’ve asked my grandma multiple times but she always tells me she doesn’t have that exact recipe. Probably one of those it was in her head type recipes…
I noticed on TimeHop app the other day that 5 years ago I set out on a mission to find The. Best. Banana Bread recipe. I pulled out the old family cookbook and though surely someone in there had my great grandma’s recipe… she did afterall have 5 children. My Great Aunt Dorothy had a recipe so I tried it. It definitely wasn’t the same, plus it called for a lot of ingredients that at the time I didn’t keep on hand. A blog friend, Lourie, knew that I was on a mission to find the best Banana Bread recipe and she hit me up with her Grandma Jo’s Banana Bread recipe and told me to try it. I said, deal.
The only problem I had with the recipe is I couldn’t get it to cook all the way through. If you’ve tried to make banana bread ever in your life, you’ll notice that sometimes it doesn’t want to cook all the way through and if you leave it in the oven too long it gets dried out and possibly even burnt. Her suggestion was you put it in a 350˚F oven for 45 minutes, then turn the oven off, don’t open the door, and set the timer for 15 minutes. Wow, let me tell you, it does wonders, and this is the closest recipe I tried to what I remember my Great Grandma’s Banana Bread tasting like. So good in fact, you really should go make this now! I mean, come on it’s National Banana Bread Day after all!
Lourie’s Grandma Jo’s Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 ripe bananas
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped walnuts (I don’t use the nuts so the amount is up to you)
In a small bowl smash bananas and set aside.
Cream butter well. Add sugar and cream together with butter thoroughly. Add eggs one and at a time and mix well. Stir in crushed bananas. Add dry ingredients. Pour into greased bread pan and bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes. Then turn off your oven and set your timer for another 15 minutes leaving the loaf in the oven, don’t open the door. When the 15 minute timer goes off, you should have perfectly cooked banana bread.
*Remember all ovens are different so you may have to play with those times. So far, in the 3 ovens I’ve tried this in, all worked great with this time frame.
**If your bananas aren’t ripe, place them in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds and you should have perfectly mashable bananas.
*Pulled from my old blog Paved Dirt Roads