At some point, there were no more tears to be shed. Polly wasn’t sure when it happened exactly but she caught herself mid-laugh and clapped a hand over her mouth.
Her friend Anna smiled from her place on the floor. They were sitting cross-legged across from each other, the tin of swiped bread between them, the two forks sticking out of it like a pair of rogue antenna. A good portion of the sticky, sweet banana bread now resided in Polly’s stomach. She could practically feel it soaking up the homesickness she felt there- or she had felt, anyway, before Anna had appeared in the doorway of the cabin, stolen treats in hand and with understanding smile.
A lot of my stories lately seem to be about kind-hearted strangers bringing baked goods to people in distress. Have you noticed that? You haven’t? Well, you probably notice now that I’ve said it.
I don’t plan these things- I write what I want to write. And obviously I’m either feeling extremely charitable lately or I’m passive-aggressively trying to force you to bake me something and bring it to me so that I may eat it. If I were still in Chicago, I could just show up at Nicole’s house and demand that she hand it over. Alas, this is not to be. I have to make this Caramelized Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze myself, oh poor Judi with all the bread to eat.
Or maybe I’m just trying to reinforce an idea here. This notion of spontaneous kindness. Of the comfort you can bring someone just by caring a little bit more than expected of you. Of how much love is available to you and how much you have within you to give away to someone else. Maybe that’s it.
Maybe it just needed overstating.
Caramelized Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze
4 TBSPs of butter, softened and divided
3/4 Cup of packed dark brown sugar
3 Medium-sized, ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 Cup of fat free buttermilk
3 TBSPs of canola oil
2 TBSPS of amber or gold rum
2 Large eggs
9 Ounces of all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
3/4 Teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
Baking spray with flour (such as Baker’s Joy)
1/3 Cup of powdered sugar
2 Teaspoons of Half and Half
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add brown sugar and bananas; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes.
5. Place banana mixture in a large bowl.
6. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
7. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs).
8. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
9. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.
10. Scrape batter into a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan coated with baking spray.
11. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.
12. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
13. Remove bread from pan, and cool on wire rack.
1. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Cook 3 minutes or until butter begins to brown; remove from heat.
3. Add powdered sugar and half-and-half, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
4. Drizzle glaze over bread.
5. Let stand until glaze sets.