Simple Banana Bread
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups well-mashed, ripe bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk (easy to make with 1/2 cup milk & 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar, mixed and left to sit for 5 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix by hand in a large bowl the sugar with the softened butter until fully blended and smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well into the sugar/butter before adding the next. After the eggs, add the mashed banana, buttermilk, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well, but not too aggressively or for too long. Just enough to get everything in a cohesive batter.
Pour the batter into a well-buttered (or oiled) bread pan, ensuring there is enough space at the top for the bread to rise and not fall over the sides while baking. Sprinkle the top with a bit of sugar and place the loaf pan in the oven.
Set a timer for 50 minutes and bake the bread in the lower 1/3 of your oven space. After 50 minutes, check the bread by inserting a knife into the center. Your banana bread will be done when the knife is (mostly) clean. A few damp crumbs on the knifes blade are ideal. If the center is still undone, return to the oven and bake in increments of 5 minutes until it's baked through.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan a bit. Turn the loaf out and cut a warm slice. Serve with a pat of butter or a nice smear of peanut butter. It's best wrapped well in plastic wrap and gets better in the day or two that follows.