Sunday, May 24, 2009

Easy Bake Oven

When I was little, I used to wish for an easy bake oven. As a child, it seemed like the pinnacle of cool--plus can you really go wrong with itty-bitty desserts? I think not. Of course, little did I know that one day my wish would come true.
Last fall, I moved to New York and like most newcomers to the city, I was overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and underwhelmed by the size my new midtown apartment. It was small, but it was my first place and I chalked it up to a character-building experience. I had just moved to New York City! You could have thrown me in a shoe box and I would have been happy.
As I scoped out my new digs, I was immediately drawn to the kitchen. It was long and narrow, but seemed manageable. Then, there was the matter of the oven. When I saw it I could not believe my eyes! Like everything else in my apartment, it was pint-sized and so I fondly named it my 'easy bake oven'. In spite of its size, my 'easy bake oven' was host to a myriad of culinary concoctions, including one my personal favorites, banana nut bread. Since our kitchen was sparsely equipped, it took just about every utensil and bowl we had, but the means always justified the end.
Naturally, you can use any nut you like for banana nut bread. As a proud Texan and Southerner, I prefer pecans. Pecans are a brilliant partner for banana bread as they diversify the texture and give the bread a more healthful bite. I also toast the pecans, which unlocks the flavor and adds a layer of warmth to the bread. Sour cream is another essential ingredient. It creates the perfect moist crumb. Ladies, (and perhaps even some calorie-conscious gentleman), this is not the place for low-fat sour cream or yogurt. Trust me on this one. In the past, I have substituted low-fat sour cream or yogurt,which lightens the calories, but also yields dryer bread. My advice is that if you want to knock it out of the park, use regular sour cream. You'll be glad you did. Plus, you can always hit the gym tomorrow.

Banana Nut Bread


3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed

1/3 cup melted butter

1/3 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped


Preheat the oven to 400° F and place the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast the pecans for 2-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch them carefully as they can burn quickly. Once the pecans have cooled, you can chop them. Turn the oven down to 350℉. With a wooden spoon, mix the butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, sour cream, cinnamon, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix all together. Mix in the flour last and fold in the pecans. Pour mixture into a 8.5 inch loaf pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.


  1. Rach,
    I love making this bread!! Every single time I do it doesn't last more than a day or so. It's the perfect study break because the preparation is easy, and the perfect second study break because you have to stop and eat it once it's out of the oven. Also, while I was taking nutrition I attempted to make this a little bit healthier: wheat flour, fat free sour cream, "special butter," and it was great. I made a loaf yesterday with almost rotten bananas and I think it has been my best attempt yet! This is a great bread to impress people with.

  2. My dear Isa,

    Even when it's anonymous, I always know it's you. Such is the profundity of our connection. I love your take on the bread, I will definitely try your edits as well! I think there's plenty of room on the blog for a sinful and guilt-free banana bread.