My earliest recollection occurs when I was a mere three years old. I had an Easy Bake Oven and we lived in Shelton, Washington. It was my step-father's birthday and I can remember baking him a birthday cake. Later on, when I was about ten or eleven years old, I remember baking my first loaf of bread. Quite an industrious feat for someone so young and unsupervised. I followed a recipe I found in Sunset magazine and being an inexperienced baker I decided I would simply omit the ingredients I didn't have on hand. I don't remember exactly what those ingredients were, but since I was living with my maternal grandmother and knowing she wasn't a baker, I can guess yeast was one of them. I'm sure it was a failed attempt but I only remember how proud I was of my first attempt at baking.
As I grew older and became more experienced, I advanced to creating my own dinner menu and making everything by myself to feed my father, step-mother, and siblings. Once a week my older sister Connie and myself got to pick a day to cook for everyone. We always looked forward to it and would look for some of the most difficult dishes to try. These weren't simple meals. Often times the meal included a dessert such as rhubarb custard pie, which was my dad's favorite pie.
I carried on my love of cooking as I became an adult and cooked for my own family. My children, their friends, and my grandchildren love to help me in the kitchen. Creating memories.
One of my kids' favorite is my banana bread. Today I baked two loaves and thought I'd share my recipe with you.
325° 70 minutes
1 cup sugar
3 – 4 very ripe bananas
Preheat oven. Butter loaf pan. Cream sugar and butter in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. In a small bowl, mash bananas. Mix in Baking Spice and cream. In another bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add banana mixture to ingredients in large mixing bowl and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Add pecans and stir by hand.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake on middle rack in preheated oven for 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan and cooling completely.
Note: I buy my spices from Penzey's Spices because I love their customer service and product quality. I use their Baking Spice blend in this recipe, but you could substitute cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice if you don't have Baking Spice.