Welcoming Fall: Banana Apple Cranberry Bread

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Today is the first day of Fall! My favorite season. What better way to welcome in the cool weather with a nice warm baked treat?

Banana bread has always been a frequent visitor in my family (I say visitor because it doesn’t stick around very long). I remember when my brother went to college, I would always bake him banana bread when he came back for breaks. I still do make it when he comes up to the NE for a visit.

This recipe is my family’s favorite for banana bread. It comes from an old vintage book, McCall’s Cook Book: The Absolutely Complete Step-By-Step Cooking and Serving Guide (from 1963), and has certainly stood the test of time. As a side note, one of my great aunts used to be a pattern maker for McCall’s. They would bring in the latest fashions and women such as my aunt would write a pattern so all those crafty people out there who know their way around a sewing machine could sew their own designer digs!

Every time I make this bread and share it with others, somebody always asks for the recipe! It is light and fluffy; a definite crowd pleaser.

BANANA BREAD
Recipe from McCall’s

2 1/4 cup sifted cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk*

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease well and flour two bread pans.
2. Into large bowl of electic mixer, sift flour with baking powder, soda, salt and sugar.
3. Add shortening, bananas and vanilla; at low speed, beat just until ingredients are combined.
4. At medium speed, beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping side of bowl and guiding mixture into beaters with rubber scraper.
5. Add eggs and buttermilk; beat 2 minutes longer.
6. Pour batter into prepared pans; bake 40 to 45 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip.
7. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool thoroughly on wire racks. Slice and enjoy!
* To sour milk: Place 1 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add milk to measure 1/2 cup. Let stand a few minutes before using.

Note: You can embellish the recipe any way you like. Whenever I make this banana bread, I generally add apples and cinnamon to the mix. On occasion (depending on who I am making it for) I will add nuts or chocolate chips. As this is the start of Fall I thought cranberries would be a nice touch.

What I’m listening to as I write this post: the rain outside

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