If your toddler is anything like our toddler, he or she will gobble up a food one week and have nothing to do with it the next. This is especially true with bananas. Annabelle will ravenously eat bananas daily for a week or two, then they will fall out of favor. Still, we diligently buy bananas each week as they are an easy go-to snack item.
On the weeks when bananas fall out of favor, we will usually end up with a few overly ripe bananas. This has been especially true during quarantine since we have been doing H-E-B Curbside Pickup and we can’t choose our banana quantity. So, left with a few overly ripe bananas most weeks, I have fallen into a habit of using them to make banana bread.
Banana bread is one of my favorite things to bake. I find myself baking it most during the fall, especially around Thanksgiving. Since I graduated college, I have had a tradition of baking all my coworkers loaves of mini banana bread and gifting it to them the day before Thanksgiving. There have been years when I’ve baked loaves for up to 40 coworkers!
Now that I’ve established myself as an experienced banana bread baker, I’ll admit I’ve tested out probably a half dozen different banana bread recipes over the years from a litany of online sources and cookbooks. The one I keep going back to for its taste, ease and consistency is an old family recipe that I got from my mom about 11 years ago: Aunt Lily’s Banana Bread.
The Story of Aunt Lily’s Banana Bread Recipe
Lily was my great grandaunt – my great grandfather Daddy Frank’s sister. My Daddy Frank was the seventh child. He had six older sisters, and Lily was the sixth girl, so closest to Daddy Frank in age. Lily had one daughter, Mary Emma, and Mary Emma was the same age as my grandma.
I don’t remember exactly how Mom introduced me to this recipe, so I asked her to remind me how she got it. She told me that when my grandma got sick with cancer, Mary Emma would come and help my mom care for my grandma when my mom had to work. She would take her to chemo and help cook meals and hang out with my grandma.
One day, Mary Emma brought banana bread. My mom remembers that Grandma, who wasn’t eating much due to the nausea from chemo, ate several bites. She also remembers Mary Emma playing Elvis music to brighten the atmosphere. When Mom asked Mary Emma for the recipe, Mary Emma explained that it was her mother’s recipe and she wrote it down from memory.
The Secret Ingredient
She explained that the “secret ingredient” was to add 1/4 to 1/3 of a small bottle of imitation butter flavoring. I can attest, this makes a huge difference!
Ever since we got the recipe, Mom and I have been devoted to making this recipe exclusively. It’s that good.
Choosing a Loaf Pan for Banana Bread
While you can bake this in a large loaf pan, I prefer to bake my banana bread in mini loaf pans. This recipe makes six perfect mini loaves. I like to keep three and give three to neighbors.
I used to have this Wilton pan that had room for 4 mini loaves, but for Christmas this year I asked my mom for individual mini loaf pans. She purchased me a dozen of these mini loaf pans and it’s a total game changer. They are so much easier to grease and flour, and SO much easier to clean. I just set them on top of one my trusty USA baking sheets and pop them in the oven. (Six mini loaf pans fit perfectly on the USA half baking sheet pan.)
Aunt Lily’s Banana Bread
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1/3 cup oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 3 large, ripe bananas
- ¼ to 1/3 small bottle of butter flavoring *Secret Ingredient*
- ½ cup chopped pecans (Optional)
- Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
- Grease and flour a bundt pan or loaf pans.
- Mash bananas and mix well with other ingredients.
- Fold in the chopped pecans (if desired).
- Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours at 275 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean. (She said it usually takes the full time at that temp.)