Banana Bread with Walnut Butter

I woke up this morning to a familiar scent from my past. Slighty sweet, a bit spicy. It was just for a second. Memories triggered by smell always seem to linger just enough for you to recognize it and then on second sniff, it's gone. The smell was banana bread, my Grandmother's and I had to try to replicate it.

Grandma Ruth's been gone now for 8 years, and lately she's become more present in my life. For such a long time it was too painful to think about her. Too emotional to sort through her belongings, let alone depart with them. This year has been a year of dealing with the past and preparing for the future, with B. I'm fortunate to have such a loving, understanding and supportive partner to open up old wounds and learn to heal them.

My Nana made the best banana bread and as hard as I've tried - I cannot get mine even close to hers. Her breads were the color of maple syrup, had a sticky top and you could see the banana threads swirl throughout the loaf. It resembled more a cake than a bread and sliced well. Although I'm going to keep at trying to nail down a recipe close to hers - there's a sweet satisfaction in knowing it will never taste as truly good without her having made it.

It's silly, but I need to get this recipe down, I'd like to introduce my own kids to it someday.

Today's recipe is a simple recipe, and one that seemed to fit my Grandma's style. Simple banana bread, no nuts, oats or fuss. Scented with vanilla - it's a moist and wet bread.

Quest for Nana's Nana Bread #1
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1.4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3.4 brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups of ripe, mashed bananas

For the Walnut Butter:
handful of walnuts
couple tablespoons of soft butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 9x3 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Do not over-stir. Pour batter evenly into greased pans. Bake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Grind walnuts in a mortar & pestel. Mix walnuts into butter.

I like to slice off a piece as I go and lightly butter. It's how my Nana did it.

*I can tell by the un-sticky surface of the bread that this isn't my Grandma's recipe...but damn it's still good. The mission continues...

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