The Much Maligned Banana

I like bananas. I feel virtuous and healthy when I eat one and they are more substantial than berries or other fruit. I don’t share my children’s aversion to their smell and enjoy them plain, with cereal and milk and even, as a rare treat, with sour cream and sugar.

The only caveat is that I need to catch that banana at its exact perfect moment – when the green has just disappeared and before the advent of any brown.

If I miss this window of opportunity, however, there is no cause for despair. I have some wonderful recipes calling for rotten bananas – the blacker the better.

Banana Muffins

This is a favorite with my teenage daughters.

1 cup mashed bananas (3-4 bananas, depending on their size)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
½ cup margarine (1 stick), room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the bananas, baking soda and hot water. In an electric mixer, cream together margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder, then banana mixture and finally chocolate chips. Spoon into a greased muffin pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Banana Loaf

This is very basic but good. The walnuts add a nice crunch and I’ve resisted the urge to add chocolate to keep it from being too sweet.

½ cup (1 stick) margarine, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup water
1 cup mashed bananas (3-4 bananas depending on their size)
½ cup toasted (optional) walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream together the margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda and add to mixture alternately with the water, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix in bananas and nuts. (The walnuts don’t need to be toasted but they have extra flavor and crunch if you do) Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour.

And last but certainly not least.

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

This is a wonderful Shabbos dessert. I use plain tofutti cream cheese to keep it pareve.

For the cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (3-4 bananas depending on their size)
1-3/4 cups flour
2/3 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons non-dairy creamer
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and bananas, mixing well. Stir in flour; then add buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well. Pour batter into greased 9-inch round pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes; then remove to racks to finish cooling. Do not ice until completely cool.

For the frosting:

1 package (8 ounces) tofutti cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) margarine, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and margarine. Beat in powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice until no lumps remain.

To assemble cake:

Put one layer on a cake pan. Put thin layer of frosting over cake. Top with second cake. Cover top and sides with frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3 thoughts on “The Much Maligned Banana

  1. a suggestion -why dont you try a whole segment with the health benifits of cinnamon and write recipes that correspond to that theme?

  2. I am a chocolatier and I make and sell chocolate frozen bananas. You can find me at . I cut each banana into 3-4 pieces (depending on the size of the banana), insert a popsicle stick into each piece, freeze the bananas on a parchment covered large pan, and then I dip each frozen banana into a high end tempered pareve chocolate. (The layman can use chocolate chips, and since the bananas are kept in the freezer, there is no need to temper.) This is a yummy treat and since you are eating a banana you can feel a little less guilty:-) Enjoy!