When I lived in my first apartment in the city, my three roommates had the sorriest kitchen I'd ever seen. I'd been in frat houses with better collections of cookware and kept more groceries in my college dorm room than they did in their refrigerator. Since I had moved in to replace the soon-to-be-engaged roommate number 4, I didn't bring any of my kitchen goodies with me when I loaded my bedroom furniture and clothing into the already cluttered apartment.
So, I made do with their two saucepans, one skillet and a 13 x 9 baking pan that was so darkened with age and grease that no food cooked inside of it escaped without being burned on at least one side.
But the one thing they did have was a decent loaf pan.
So among a few other culinary delights that I developed there - like grilled cheese on the George Foreman - I baked a lot of banana bread.
Now that I have my own kitchen and some bright and shiny baking pans, I still bake banana bread whenever I have some overrripe bananas in the basket on the counter. And I had always thought that I made pretty good banana bread until the night that I made really good banana bread.
Nutty Maple Banana Bread
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light packed brown sugar
2 large bananas, sliced
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 3/4 cup flour
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray pan with cooking spray.
2. Cream together applesauce and sugar in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
3. To the wet ingredients, add two large, sliced bananas and 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Mix well with hand mixer on medium speed until bananas are well blended and only few visible chunks remain. Add egg whites and blend thoroughly.
4. Mix together, slowly adding flour mixture, beating on low speed until smooth. Stir in nuts and pour into prepared loaf pan.
5. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes (depending on your oven you may need to bake up to an hour).
Yield: 8 thick slices.