I believe the saying is true, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But to be honest, it’s not my favorite one. Partly because I’ve never been a morning person and I probably never will be. And also because it’s so easy to get stuck in a breakfast rut. When I was in high school I had a bowl of Oatmeal Squares cereal with raisins every morning for four years straight, never stopping before I picked up the spoon to ask, “Could I start my day with anything else? Maybe something more glamorous and savory?” I had yet to learn that in France it’s okay to eat cheese for breakfast and that the simple combination of a cappuccino and a croissant was a perfectly respectable start to the day. I was probably too tired and hadn’t ingested enough coffee yet to think about it.
That is the one thing I do love about breakfast though, coffee. I’ve been happily dependent on it since I was 14, with no intention of breaking the habit. When I lived in New York with my best friend Brooke, we would frequently go to brunch together on the weekends. One time we walked into our favorite spot on the Lower East Side and the host asked “How many?” and I stood there in my not-yet-caffeinated stupor and just stared at him blankly as if I had no idea what he was talking about. After a few awkward beats Brooke replied,
“Two.” with a smile that read “Please excuse my friend, she’s quite slow before she’s had coffee”. And from then on she always insisted on doing the talking when we arrived at brunch. Those non-coffee drinkers always amaze me.
So to climb out of my recent breakfast rut, I thought about my ideal breakfast. Which involves a latte with perfectly foamed milk paired with a buttery baked good from my neighborhood coffee shop. Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming “hipness” of my neighborhood, the coffee shop, in addition to being a scene, is the most expensive coffee shop I’ve ever been to and a coffee and muffin will cost you. So why not bring the homemade baked goods home?! I did by making this amazingly moist banana bread, and my mornings are already looking brighter.
Yields 1 loaf
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for the bread pan
- 2 large eggs
- 4 very ripe bananas
- 1 tablespoon low-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and butter a bread pan.
In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, beat together sugar and room temperature butter. (If your butter is too cold, microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds to soften.) Continue beating the sugar and butter until it becomes creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating the first one in before adding the second.
In another bowl, smash the ripe bananas with a fork. Add the milk and cinnamon and mix. In a third bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the banana mixture to the creamy butter mixture and combine. Then add the flour mixture and stir until it’s combined and you can no longer see the dry flour.
Pour the batter in to the buttered bread pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before removing from pan and placing on a wire rack to cool.
I recommend serving it with slathered with butter, peanut butter, or Nutella for a sweet treat!