Martha’s Banana Bread

I am a big fan of Martha Stewart. I easily and even completely dismiss the fact that she’s a convicted felon and did hard time in a federal prison for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Not only that, I further admire her for overcoming such a scandal and picking up pretty much right where she left off in her career once she finished serving her sentence. Martha Stewart is a rosy case-in-point that we should avoid being judgmental of convicted felons (it’s unlikely that most enjoy the same advantages as her, of which there are obviously many); research has shown that stigmatization (as opposed to acceptance) of felons during their re-integration into society increases the risk of recidivism.

Aside from my personal conviction that everyone deserves a second chance, the main reason I am such a fan of Stewart is not actually her ability to transcend an impressive scandal such as a felony conviction. It’s because of her cooking. I realize that much of her content is probably no longer created by her, but it still passes some sort of quality control to be published in her name. I have yet to use a recipe of “hers” that is sub-par.

Unlike most recipes (including for baked goods) that I come across and continue to cook, I have made no adjustments to this recipe, except to use buttermilk instead of sour cream– this only because the former is far more cost-effective and produces nearly identical results in baking. Still, I wouldn’t consider this an adjustment, just a thrifty substitute.

Martha’s Banana Bread

Yield: 10-12 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose or cake flour are a good idea)
  • 1 cup sugar*
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda/soda bicarbonate
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter milk OR sour cream
  • 1 cup ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup (about 100g) chopped walnuts or pecans; optional

*it doesn’t affect the overall quality of the dish to reduce the sugar content to as little as 1/2 cup.

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and flour a 9x5inch (23 x 13cm) loaf pan. Cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy, and lightened in colo(u)r. Add the eggs, and beat until well-incorporated. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the nuts, and beat until well-mixed. Add the nuts and stir-in by hand. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick (I usually just use a knife or a fork) inserted into the middle of the center comes out clean. Let the loaf rest in the pan for 10 minutes, and then remove and place on a cooling rack. Eat it!