When life gives you rotten bananas, make banana bread!

Courtesy of Charles Hobbs

“PLEASE bring me bananas!” read a text sent from me to my mother on Sept. 15, just days before she was set to drive up for Families Weekend. As a lifelong banana fiend, it was a natural request, one which she had likely been expecting for some time. Being the enabler that she is, my mom asked how many I would like. Before now, I had gotten my fix of bananas from the Deece, often smuggling five or six out at a time in my backpack. Despite the fact that this was very much within my rights, life as a small-time criminal did not suit me, and I wasn’t sure how much longer I could go on. I decided that 10 bananas, all equal in ripeness, was a perfectly reasonable amount for me to consume before they all browned. Because I personally believe that bananas are best consumed when brown spots first appear, I asked that they already be plenty ripe. Big mistake.

Fast forward five days. I had eaten four of the bananas, one every day since my parents had left. This was typical behavior. However, because bananas are not wont to ripen at my convenience, I had six remaining bananas so ripe that their peels burst at the slightest touch. As I mentioned, bananas are the light of my life, and the prospect of having to throw six of them away was too much for me to bear. They were beginning to attract flies, I was beginning to spiral and it all felt like I was Jennifer Lawrence in the third act of “Mother!” Then, as a banana lover, I remembered that my fruit of choice could be enjoyed in a wide variety of mediums in accordance with their ripeness. I was in a perfect position to make some killer banana bread. For the first and probably last time ever, Chrissy Tiegen would’ve killed to be me. Knowing the limitations of cooking in a dinky dorm kitchen, I set out to find a recipe that required minimal equipment. The internet (ohsheglows.com) delivered a miraculous (

Knowing the limitations of cooking in a dinky dorm kitchen, I set out to find a recipe that required minimal equipment. The internet (ohsheglows.com) delivered a miraculous (vegan!) recipe that required only a mixing bowl and a baking tray. I was intimidated at first by the sophistication of the ingredients, especially coconut sugar and ground flaxseed meal—who am I, Gwyneth Paltrow? Every ingredient, however, was present on the shelf at Target, proving their attainability. I even managed to find cacao chips. Although getting my mom to buy me bananas was a ploy to save my own money, I kind of went ham at Target, buying the 9×5 bread pan the recipe called for, as well as some measuring cups. For those unwilling to drop the same dollars on those items, you can definitely find someone with measuring cups, and you can borrow my pan in exchange for a slice of the final product.

Let me tell you, making this banana bread constituted the most heavenly hour of my life. Literally all that you have to do is throw the ingredients into the one bowl in the order listed, mix them together and put it in the oven. Because it’s vegan, you can eat the batter–or undercook it–without worry. To mess this up, you have to go out of your way.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the banana until almost smooth, and make sure you have 1 1/3 cups.

Stir the wet ingredients (ground flax, milk, melted oil, maple syrup and vanilla) into the banana until combined.

Stir the dry ingredients (sugar, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour) into the wet mixture, one by one, in the order listed. Stop stirring when there are no flour patches at the bottom of the bowl.

Spoon the dough into the loaf pan and spread out evenly. Add your desired toppings and gently press them into the dough to adhere.

Bake the loaf, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes (I undercooked it, about 40 minutes), until lightly golden and firm on top.

Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Then, slide a knife around the loaf to loosen it and gently remove it from the pan, placing it directly onto the cooling rack until completely cooled. (Or to hasten the cooling process, transfer to the fridge for 45 minutes.) Or, eat it immediately!

Slice the loaf once cooled. I love to spread it with vegan butter or coconut oil. The loaf will keep in the fridge tightly wrapped for three to four days, or it can be frozen four to six weeks.

Ingredients

4 very ripe medium bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons (15 g) ground flaxseed
1/3 cup (80 mL) unsweetened vanilla almond milk 1/3 cup (80 mL) coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (60 g) coconut sugar 1/2 cup (50 g) rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour (any kind)
Cacao chips

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