Breads, Uncategorized

Banana Bread

LaVerne and I baked this Banana Tea Bread recipe from the good old Good Housekeeping Cookbook on one of the last days at her house when we were spending lots of time looking and cooking through her recipes. I couldn’t find the one she had shared with us years before, but she chose this as the one to use.


The recipe she gave my husband when he left home is still my favorite banana bread ever, and when I compared them after I got home, I found that they are identical.

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I’m posting this with many thanks to my friend Selena for her donation to my Walk to End Alzheimer’s this past fall.


Mom’s Banana Bread


1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup soft shortening

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, unbeaten

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3)

Nuts (optional)


Start heating oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9”x 5” loaf pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Cream shortening with sugar. Then add eggs and continue to beat until very light and fluffy – about 4 minutes altogether.

Blend in flour mixture at low speed alternately with bananas just until smooth; turn into pan.

Bake one hour or until done. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove and cool on rack.


There are many variations included in this cookbook recipe which we’ve never tried.

We peel and freeze ripe bananas. When it’s time to thaw them for bread, they’re already halfway there. It always takes one more banana than I think to make up the 1 cup of mashed fruit.

A toothpick inserted into the center of quick bread comes out clean when it is cooked through.

Both the cookbook and Mom’s recipe say to cool overnight before slicing, but we all know that will never happen.

Traditionally, the Steins put pecans into this banana bread (1/4-1/2 cups chopped) when nuts are desired.

Do you have a favorite quick bread recipe?

Breads, Desserts

Dad’s Sweet Rolls

My husband’s Dad and I used to joke that he was the Lady of the house, because my mom taught me the etymology of the word lady, which means, “Baker of the bread.”
James’ Dad was the bread guy, the grill guy, and the supreme scrambled egg guy.
He taught me everything I know about amazing, fluffy scrambled eggs, and we lovingly critiqued each other’s bread textures over the years. What an honor to have him compliment my efforts!

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Everyone loved Mike’s sweet rolls, and he would often make some when a crowd was set to descend upon the house for a weekend. He shared that recipe in a handwritten letter, in his own sort of shorthand, so this is not exactly taken from a cookbook.

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He said, “The recipe for these sweet rolls basically comes from the Fleischmann’s New Treasury of Yeast Baking of about 1968. It’s been modified slightly. Good luck with it.
Practice at least once before we next come up then allow me to critique your product.”

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Dad’s Sweet Rolls

4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 packages yeast (1 tablespoon +1-1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 stick margarine or butter
2 room temperature eggs

Liquids and margarine – warm together
Mix sugar, salt and yeast, and 1 cup flour together. Add liquids in, beat for 2 minutes.
Add the eggs and 1 more cup flour. Beat at speed 2 in the mixer 2 minutes.
Put on the dough hook add enough flour to produce dough.
Raise until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and divide into two halves.
Roll each half into long rectangle. Roll thin, 18″ x 9″. The dough will probably be half inch or less in thickness.
Brush with melted butter or margarine-will probably require about half stick. Leave one long edge of dough uncoated
Spread dough with one half of filling.
Roll out the dough toward unbuttered edge. Seal edge.
Cut roll every inch or so. Place cut rolls in greased pan. Don’t crowd them too much. Allow them to raise until they look about right.
Bake in 350° oven for 25 minutes. Cool and frost with mixture of confectioners’ sugar and milk or orange juice.

For Cinnamon Rolls
1-1/2 cups of sugar (I use half and half white and brown)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cups raisins
I also add chopped nuts if available

For Orange Rolls
1-1/2 cups of sugar
Grated rind of a large orange
Chopped nuts

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From Dad: The original recipe called for 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. I don’t like that much so cut it and see no affect but flavor on the product. You may find you can get by with a bit less oleo to grease the dough and or a bit less filling (sugar component). I use it all and what leaks out when I cut the rolls gets thrown in the pan wherever it hits.

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From us: Mike preferred the orange rolls. I prefer the cinnamon rolls, so that’s what we’ve typically made over the years. Watch how much flour you use rolling out the dough. A little sticky is okay it will be easier to get at the size you want if it’s not too elastic.

The steps given here assume the use of the Kitchenaid mixer we all have in our kitchens thanks to James’ folks. Use whatever tools you have to get the job done – but this is easy and fast with the dough hook.

Roll the log even tighter than you think you should. Stretch the outer layer around the roll to capture everything tightly. When it says “don’t crowd too much,” really, don’t. This batch came out tiny on one end of the pan because they didn’t have quite enough room to rise. Tiny just meant a person could eat two, but the texture of the bigger ones was nicer.
What sweet treat do you favor?

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