With worldwide financial disaster just on the horizon these days, I find it comforting to bake a simple loaf of banana bread. Not just because it fills my home with a delicious smell and fills my belly with nutritious goodness, but also because it makes “cents.” The main ingredient costs between $0.49 and $0.99 a pound, and that’s back when it’s fresh! For all intents and purposes here, it’s FREE because this penny-pinching quick bread uses the spotted, over-ripe bananas that most people throw away–but not us savvy Suzie Homemakers looking to cut costs during lean times!
This nerdy spreadsheet lover crunched the numbers for you using today’s posted prices at Safeway and the current energy rates at PG&E. (Assuming 2.0 kWh to run an electric oven at 350 for 1 hour. If you bake your loaf in a convection toaster oven, you could save even more!)
Total cost for a loaf of delicious homebaked banana bread: $6.90
Personal satisfaction: Priceless
Compare $0.77 per wholesome, generous 1″ slice to spending $1.75 to for a preservative-laden muffin at Starbucks and that’s 56% savings straight to your bottom line! Now this is an easy baked goody that even the most miserly Scrooge could love.
PRE-STEP: Stash whole bananas in their peel in the freezer as they turn ripe and spotted. Once you have have 3, you are ready to bake!
BANANA BREAD RECIPE
(adapted from Baking Illustrated)
- Pre-heat oven to 350. Remove bananas from freezer. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
- Melt butter. Set aside to cool.
- Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Toast until fragrant (~7 mins). Set aside to cool.
- Mash bananas in a medium bowl. Mix in yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla.
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and walnuts together in a large bowl.
- Fold the banana mixture into dry ingredients.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean (~55 mins). Cool in pan for 5 mins, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temp.