Back to school means a need for new lunch ideas, and rushed breakfasts eaten on the way to work or school after a summer of lounging late in PJs. Banana bread is a staple in our house, quickly mixed and baked on a near-daily basis as bananas become overripe or threaten to take over the freezer. Sliced and frozen, it’s perfect to grab and go on busy mornings, or to pack in lunch boxes or serve as after school snacks. Banana bread is infinitely versatile – it can take any number of additions. This version has ground flaxseed, which delivers a boost of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids, which contribute to proper brain function – important when it’s time to get back to the books.
Banana gets on with other flavors well, so you can stir dried fruit (try chopped apricots, dried cherries or blueberries instead of the usual raisins), chocolate, chopped nuts, or fresh or frozen berries into the batter before baking, if you like.
Bake the batter as a large loaf or a few smaller ones, or make muffins by dividing the batter between paper-lined muffin cups and baking for 20-25 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.
Banana Flax Bread
2-3 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola, olive or flax oil
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (all purpose, or half whole wheat
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
a handful of chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, raisins, coconut, or fresh or frozen blueberries (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla with a potato masher – don’t worry about getting all the lumps out.
Add the flour, flax, baking soda and salt and stir until almost combined; add any additions and stir just until blended. Spread into a greased 8”x4” loaf pan (or 2-3 small loaf pans) and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden and cracked on top and springy to the touch.