For those of you living in the northeast, I don’t have to tell you, it’s been COLD here since last October! Although we are a gritty type and can normally take whatever weather comes our way, I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say, we are ready for some warmth and sunny skies. Unfortunately, the cold weather is persisting, but the warm weather will eventually come our way. It always does.
In the meantime, many of us high-tailed it out of here for Spring break hoping to find weather to warm our hearts and souls. My family, and some fine friends, headed to the southern Utah for a week of canyoneering in the desert slots. We were looking forward to that blast of hot air that hits as you walk off the plane. As it turned out, this was not the case. The weather was okay…..until it snowed. And then, as if the snow as not enough, we were greeted with mixed precip….hale, sleet, snow, rain, and wind….. which was a real treat! We muddled through, as we always do; and fortunately, most days, the weather was fine and did not curtail our outdoor canyoneering activities. We had a lot of fun making our way through the canyons (see photo above) and the trip was amazing despite the slight chill (see photo below).
With that introduction, I move onto the topic at hand….. how to make the sun-baked banana bread….. that’s what you came here for after all…
My friend Tom, who is good at everything he does (his main strengths being all outdoor activities, Scrabble, and baking banana bread) made this amazing banana bread. When he pulled this out one chilly morning and we toasted it on the grill with a dab of butter, it was heart and soul warming (if the sun can’t warm us, the food can, right?). But, even better than this delicious bread was the way he baked it. He used a sun oven. This sun oven is mobile. He can place it in his back yard in the direction of the sun whenever he wants to bake on a sunny day (which is most days in southern Utah). There is a photo of the sun oven below and a link to get more information. This oven gets up to almost 300 degrees Fahrenheit and can cook a regular size banana bread in just about an hour.
Thanks Tom for the banana bread and the fun time in the slots. I’ll give you a Plus One for the effort!
1 stick of butter or 1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 overripe bananas
1.5 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts (filberts, if you¹re from Oregon)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Mix butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and bananas one at a time into butter/sugar mixture. Then add vanilla and mix until blended.
Mix dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt). Then add to wet ingredients slowly, being careful not to over mix. Add nuts and chocolate chips if using.
Fold into bread pan and bake at 325 for 50 minutes (or 1 hour at 275 in sun oven – if you are lucky enough to live where you can use one of these puppies).
For more information on sun ovens, check out this quick video