Fresh Direct screwed something up in our last order, and they sent us two massive bunches of bananas. We’ve been making Bananas Foster practically daily, but we’ve reached the point where the bananas are nearly molten and it’s time to bake them into something. I was all set to make a recipe I’d found online from a trusted source, but the moment I started in on prep and I started to mash banana flesh, the scent transported me to another time and place.

Sixth grade, Taipei American School, Taiwan. I was on the yearbook staff—it was an after-school activity. We had three faculty sponsors who helped make the yearbook, but the only one I remember is Ms. Patterson, the Home Ec teacher. (Random sidenote: on a family vacation to Bali in 6th grade, Ms. Patterson was staying at the same resort as us. I can only imagine now how annoying it would be to run into a student while on vacation! I promise I didn’t harrass her overly much.)

banana bread

As a fundraiser for the yearbook, we all took over the Home Ec kitchens and baked banana bread. Then at the annual Food Fair, we sold our wares. The Food Fair was an awesome yearly event on campus where different groups (and maybe restaurants? I don’t know.) would set up tables with food from around the world to buy and taste. It’s where I had satay for the first time—I definitely remember that. And it was also a place where the parents and kids could come, and the parents could socialize and eat while the kids ran around the place with abandon.

banana bread

Anyway, I remember making this banana bread for the Fair, then getting the recipe from Ms. Patterson, because my family loved it so much. Thankfully, when I started living on my own my mom made me a recipe book of family favorites, so I had the recipe handy. I promptly abandoned the other banana bread for this one.

Licking the bowl after making the batter was transportive. I was 11 years old again, baking banana bread with my friends after school. I was carrying a tray of banana bread slices to offer as free samples to entice people to come buy the bread (that was my friend Beth’s idea).

recipe book

TAS Banana Bread (as my mom noted in the recipe “TAS Food Fair”)
2 sticks butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, baking soda, and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the butter. Mix the vanilla into the bananas and fold this into the batter. Stir in the nuts.

Pour into a greased + floured loaf pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

banana bread

And oh boy does it taste so good, even when it’s not tied up in memories. The wheat flour gives it a bite and a quality that other banana breads lack, in my opinion. This one calls for no spices, but there’s no reason not to tuck some in. I think nuts are crucial, personally—in fact, I believe all baked goods for which nuts are optional are better with them (cookies, brownies). If you were one of those people who like chocolate chips in your banana bread (I am not one of these people), I’m sure the batter would hold up to their melty gooeyness.

You just can’t go wrong with this banana bread.

26 Responses to TAS

  1. caro says:

    Yum! It looks great! I love how something as simple as the smell of mooshing bananas can transport you right back in time.

    I am one of those chocolate chip people what with the nut allergy and all that. And it’s funny, I loathe bananas on their own, but I love banana bread.

  2. maryse says:

    ha! the recipe i use is virtually identical except it it measures the bananas in cups (2 1/3 cup) and there is no mention of nuts. (i do not care for nuts in baked goods. i’m a salty snack nut person only).

  3. miko says:

    that looks delicious and i love the trip down memory lane. some great photos to go with the post.

    The recipe book is such a sweet idea!

  4. Debbie says:

    Hey, I went to TAS for 7th through 9th grades [mumble mumble] years ago — way before your time (before you were born unless you are a lot older than you look). Thanks for bringing back the memories! (The bread looks good, too.)

  5. limonene says:

    I’ll have to give that recipe a try the next time I have whole wheat flour. The recipe I usually use is drastically different from this one. It calls for melting the butter rather than creaming it together with the sugar and adding 1/4 cup of yogurt.

  6. Frida says:

    Me and my husband spent two weeks in Taipei a few years back, he was sent to work and I tagged along. I must say that the town, the people and the atmosphere made such a mark on me, I have never been in a more friendly place ever, and I am tall so I was stared at. I cant wait to go back someday.

  7. GinkgoKnits says:

    I have a recipe to make this weekend that involves caramelizing the bananas in the oven first. I’ve never tried it before but it sounds intriguing. Whole wheat flour isn’t a standard pantry item for me but now I’ll have to get some to try it this way too. Thanks!

  8. Jacey says:

    Mmm. I used to make banana bread about once a month, but I haven’t made it in over a year. Maybe I need to pick up that habit again.

  9. Emily says:

    I use the Mrs. Fields recipe to make banana bread on a weekly basis. It uses 7(!) bananas and makes two full loaves. I especially like when the grocery store puts out all the bruised bananas at a huge discount and I can stock up and make several batches of the bread at once. It seems to be one of these things we never get tired of, and using that many bananas ensures they will always be super moist!

  10. Lauren says:

    I just made a loaf of this bread, using chocolate chips in place of the nuts, and it was absolutely delicious. The mix of white and wheat flours really makes it. Thank you for sharing the recipe–and the lovely memories you associate with it!

  11. Laura says:

    Yum! Your reminiscing reminded me of my own days at an overseas American school–in my case, the Escola Americana de Campinas (Brazil). We had many events that could be described just as you described the Food Fair.

  12. Betsy says:

    I squirreled away this recipe with much anticipation. Finally made a batch last weekend, using an extra banana (4 small ones) and adding 1 tsp espresso powder and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Brought it into work on Monday – in small “banana bread bites” style. There was swooning. Thanks so much!

  13. Jennifer says:

    What a great recipe. You know what I love? Toasted banana bread with peanut butter on it. So if you wanted to cut a corner, you could add peanut butter chips. (Not a fan of chocolate chips in banana bread, but pb would be worth a try).

    I wonder if I have any bananas at home …

  14. Poohmie says:

    hi! i used to go to TAS and i loved their christmas cookies…any chance u have that recipe? please reply to my email! thanks :)

  15. KarenJ says:

    Looks like a winner! A suggestion – try adding some cranberries. Fresh ones are unavailable where I live so I used dried, sweetened ones and they’re almost as good. That tart bite does something wonderful with the sweetness of the bananas. (Actually, fresh frozen are available in a specialty store 40 minutes away, but at aproximately forty euros a kilo it’s just not happening! )

    I’ve just found your website and it’s going straight onto my favorites list!

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