Nutless Banana Bread

For this, you will need:

  • 1-3/4 cup of flour, plus a little more
  • 1/2 cup sugar, maybe with some brown sugar on the side
  • 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 3 overripe bananas
  • fresh-ground coffee
  • some vanilla
  • some rum
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • allspice

I first got this recipe out of a Betty Crocker book that my granny had, so this goes back quite a ways. Except that that recipe had shortening in it, didn’t have the other spices or rum or vanilla. Or brown sugar. Or coffee.  Come to think of it, it called for a cup of bananas, and three overripe bananas is probably more than a cup, but that’s okay. Who doesn’t want their banana bread extra moist and more banana-y?

Except one more thing. You know the biggest compliment I get? No nuts. That’s right. They say, “I love your banana bread. It doesn’t have nuts.” The original recipe did. The Kids didn’t want them, so I took them out, and the bread sure didn’t seem to suffer, so they’ve stayed out.

Before you do anything else, set the oven for 375. If your oven is in Celsius, I first have to wonder where you bought it. I mean, I like science-y stuff and all, but I’ve never seen a Celsius oven.  Go here and tell me about it. Then come back and set your oven to 190 Celsius. But I’m presuming you don’t, and just in case I’ve confused anybody by now, JUST SET YOUR OVEN TO 375.

With the oven starting to warm up, I first mix the dry ingredients BUT NOT the sugar. I forget exactly how much salt to put in. I just give the shaker a few good shakes.

As far as the spices, I generously sprinkle in the cinnamon, not so generous with the nutmeg, and least generous with the allspice. Grandma and I like to grind our own beans to make coffee. I take a good-sized pinch out of the coffee grinder and throw it in. Please remember that if you do this, you want to use grounds that haven’t yet been used for coffee.

Then mix all this dry stuff (except for the sugar) up thoroughly.

Now it’s time to use that sugar in a separate bowl. And while the recipe calls for a half cup of it, what I like to do is have most of a half cup but top it off with brown sugar.

I cream together the sugar, eggs, and butter/margarine. Then add a glop of vanilla and a dollop of rum.

It seems like you’re ready to mix this stuff up, but before you do, take those overripe bananas and mash ’em up real good. If there’s odd little chunks of banana, don’t worry about it. They’ll taste good. Now, you might ask, how ripe is overripe? Well, when they’re speckled, they’re usable. When they’re black and drawing little fruit flies, you better not let them go any longer. Now, I have used just plain ol’ ripe bananas, and if you’re in a banana bread emergency, they’ll do, but even for your non-foodie Grandpa, I can tell it’s just not as good.

Now it’s time to mix… wait, no, first grab your standard breadpan and, according to the other recipe, grease it up.  I’m sure they meant with shortening. But I don’t do shortening, unless I’m humming a song from my youth, “Mama’s little baby loves shortening bread,” which sounds kinda disgusting, really. Although I heard Keith Emerson once work the riff into a piece call Rodeo, originally written by Aaron Copeland and now used for beef commercials, which was pretty neat the way ol’ Keith did it. But no, I just get a glop of soft margarine in my hand and spread it all over inside of the breadpan. Then set the pan aside. Then go wash that hand, because you don’t want to go around putting that stuff on everything you touch.

And NOW you can mix the dry stuff and the creamed-up stuff (but not the bananas yet) together. Get yourself a sturdy stirrer to do that. It might be hard to mix it all together. That’s because the bananas aren’t in there yet (see?).

So now that you’re getting tired trying to mix it, it’s time to throw the bananas in. Now it gets easier. But it might end up being a little too thin, because the original recipe didn’t call for the rum and vanilla, so the mixture might be not quite thick enough. How thick should it be? It’s like that Supreme Court justice said about whether a movie was too naughty – you know it when you see it. The mixture shouldn’t run. It should glop. If it doesn’t glop, and it seems to be a little runny, sprinkle in flour and keep stirring until it thickens up enough.

Bonus suggestion: I mix in chocolate chips if I really want to please the Grandkids, and why shouldn’t I, or make a bread that’s more dessert-y. Or mix in blueberries if I want to put a bit of variety and a dose of health into it, and why shouldn’t I. Now, if you put in blueberries, best advised to use the frozen ones. The mixture’s thick enough that if you put in fresh blueberries, they might crush and run into the mix.

And now you can pour that into the bread pan and stick it into the oven. Set the kitchen timer for 50 minutes.

After 50 minutes, take it out and give it the knife test. Stick a knife into it, pull it out, and if it comes out clean, it’s ready.  If it comes out with bread goop on it, it needs a little more time. If it’s ready, run the knife around the edges of the breadpan, loosening the bread, and it should pop out smoothly.

If you tried this, I hope it went well for you. Baking is something that I hesitate to tell others about, because it’s easy to get wrong when you’re an on-the-fly cook like me. If I’m cooking stir-fry and I’m out of teriyaki or forget to put it in, oh, well. I can flavor it up some other way. But if you, for instance, forget the eggs or the baking powder, then you’ve got a serious shot at the whole effort failing.

But I got used to it, and now around Christmastime, I’ll have a Banana Bread Marathon and bake up about 15 or 20 loaves for my nearest and dearest. It’s work, but it’s fun, and for the holiday season, it’s a labor of love.  You can read about one such effort here.

— Grandpa


  1. Darlene Williams says:

    Hi, Jason! I’m so excited to try your Banana Bread “recipe.” It’s worth a trip to the store to get me some serious bananas! And I love how you bring baking to life with your little quips sprinkled throughout the instructions!

    Just one suggestion, if I may, please: Give us a Print button!

    Keep up the good work!


  1. […] was holiday season, time to make the banana bread, and the bananas were on sale, so I stocked up. I was walking through the store with about 45 […]

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