One of the best things I like about snow days is that it is perfect for staying in and baking. There’s something very calming and comforting about the smell of fresh baked goodies, while feeling the warmth from the oven and watching the snow fall outside.
Boston has seen record amounts of snow over the past 30 days, and we’ve had blizzard warnings, state of emergencies, MBTA shutdowns (that’s our public transportation system) and let’s not forget the arctic blast just this past Valentine’s Day weekend and today. But since there’s not much we can do about it, I just stay inside and bake.
For the record, over the past couple of weeks, I have baked: 4 cakes, 4 dozen cookies, a batch of brownies, one sad sweet potato, and multiple loaves of banana bread.
This banana bread is a Classic Banana Bread – soft and tender with just the right amount of sweetness. There are no chocolate chips, no pumpkin, no carrots and zucchini, no bacon. But it’s easy to customize and you can add whatever you want. It’s quick and fool-proof, and it’s so good and so simple that you’ll find yourself buying extra bananas so you can make it again.
I made a loaf of this banana bread to bring to Manchester, Vermont for a quick weekend getaway with friends. That’s right, we escaped snowy Boston to go to another colder, snowier state (same exact thing we did two years ago during another historic blizzard). My friend and I took turns cooking meals for everyone, and I volunteered to be part of the breakfast crew. I made fluffy scrambled eggs topped with chives and served it with crispy thick-cut bacon, crunchy whole wheat toast, butter, jam, cream cheese, mimosas, and slices of sweet and tender banana bread.
I had so much fun in Vermont that weekend. We left Boston at 4:30 am aboard a very comfortable Lexus GX that was generously provided by Lexus for a test drive, and it certainly made our winter travel in New England less stressful. It was so big and roomy and such a stable ride. And I must say quite a beauty! Lexus also provided me with a gift card to buy a ton of groceries that my friends and I donated to our neighborhood food pantry. I know that the brand Lexus screams luxury, and I am very aware of how lucky I am to get an opportunity like this, but I really appreciate the fact that they care about community support and giving back. It made me admire the brand even more.
Here are some pictures from the trip:
I tried snow tubing for the first time and even though it was 5 degrees outside (with the windchill it felt like -10) and my cheeks hurt from the cold, I really enjoyed it! I also loved spending time with my friends, exploring Manchester and Stratton Mountain Ski Resort, and then retiring back to our rented house to relax, drink wine, and eat more banana bread at midnight while playing board games.
When we got back to Boston it was snowing again, and it feels like Winterfell (for those who aren’t fans of Game of Thrones, winter there lasts several years). But hey, that just means more snow days for me. More days of working from home. More days of baking inside. And more banana bread for my friends.
Classic Banana Bread
1 teaspoon butter to grease loaf pan
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Butter a 9" x 5" loaf pan, then dust with flour.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together sugars and eggs. Add coconut oil, mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix to combine.
- Fold in flour mixture.
- Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
I've also made this exact recipe with sour cream instead of buttermilk, and yielded the same delicious results.
If you would like to make another quick bread that is not banana bread, try this Mango Coconut Bread. Winter and snow may still abound, but it will temporarily bring the tropics to you (and me).