When Life Gives You Rotten Bananas...Make Banana Bread!

We love bananas, and so does our one-year-old Labradoodle, Guero. I mean, he loves them so much, we call him "monkey."

But, what he doesn't love is when a banana is overripe. And, frankly, neither do I. So, when a banana starts getting too many black spots, I remove the banana from the skin, put it in a ziploc bag and toss it in the freezer.

Generally, I'll add a frozen, overripe banana to a smoothie, but since we're sort of over smoothie season, what's a girl to do with two bags of two overripe bananas in each bag, you ask? Make banana bread, of course.

I haven't been able to locate my favorite banana nut bread recipe, which was my grandmother's recipe, since the late 90's and so each time I make it, I find a new one to try out. And this time, I hit pay dirt.

I went to one of my favorite "baker" blogs, Joy the Baker, and found that she had made a banana-cranberry bread which she had gotten from two of my other favorite bloggers, Smitten Kitchen, who borrowed the recipe from Simply Recipes. All three of these blogs are truly fantastic. I encourage you to check them out!

And while I liked the recipe, I tweaked it a bit and adapted it to what I had on hand, leaving out what I didn't. The result was an amazingly moist and scrumptious banana-cranberry-walnut bread.

It's so easy, all you'll need are a few basic ingredients, one bowl and a 4x8 loaf pan. Oh, and about four frozen, overripe bananas, some cranberries and some walnuts. Everything else, you'll likely have in the pantry.

Buen provecho!

Banana-Cranberry-Walnut Bread

(Print Recipe)

Recipe adapted by The Cowgirl Gourmet from Joy the Baker, Smitten Kitchen and Simply Recipes

3-4 frozen, overripe bananas
1 perfectly ripe banana, to slice on the top
1/3 cup salted butter, melted and slightly cooled (I don't usually buy salted butter, so I just added a dash of salt, just a littlle under 1/8 tsp., to make it a salted butter)
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 farm fresh egg, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I did not have any a-p flour, so I used self-rising flour and just omitted the baking soda...which worked out perfectly, but use whatever you have)
1/2 cup dried organic cranberries
1 cup walnut pieces and halves

Take the plastic bags of frozen bananas from the freezer and allow to defrost. I left mine in the sink, as the bags will get quite wet from condensation. As the bananas defrost, an amber-colored water will accumulate in the bags...and this is what is the trick to moist bread, so keep that water!

Dump the frozen bananas and their juice in a big bowl and mash with a potato masher or a wooden spoon. Mix in melted butter and stir well. Add the sugar, beaten egg, vanilla and the spices to combine. If you are using all-purpose flour, sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in thoroughly. Add the flour (a-p or self-rising) and mix until combined. Add the cranberries and walnuts and stir just until incorporated.

Pour batter into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Take the ripe banana and slice on the bias. Decoratively place sliced banana pieces on top of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean from the center. (My bread took about 70 minutes.)

Cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Take a butter knife and run it around the edges to ensure it will come out of the pan. Remove from the pan, turn right-side up and let cool completely.

Slice and serve.

This bread is great leftover with a shmear of cream cheese!
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