About two years ago my mom sat with her mom, and went through her most-used cookbook page by page. They chatted over each recipe – even the hand written ones and the ones that my grandma had clipped from magazines and newspapers and stuffed inside the cover over the years.
Grandma talked about each recipe she remembered, and Mom made notes on Post-It’s. The book is filled now, with little quotes from Grandma like:
“She had a good one there!” on her sister’s chocolate cake recipe and,
“No one could do punch better than her!” on her friend’s tropical punch recipe that’s etched out in Grandma’s precise writing and,
“This one’s a goodie!” about chocolate drop cookies and,
“I’d never make these again!”, about some candy cane Christmas cookies.
Then my mom photocopied each page – all 400 of them, and added in photographs of Grandma young and old, and my mom and her siblings growing up, and my sisters and I with Grandma, and then Grandma with our kids. Many of the pictures are of some or all of us making doughnuts with her – because that was Grandma’s tradition – making doughnuts every winter. Those are some of my most cherished memories ever.
I spent Sunday morning poring over this book with puffy, teary eyes. . . .
Grandma had passed away peacefully on Friday, surrounded by family.
And even though we all knew it was coming and our brains can tell us it all makes sense, our hearts miss her, and I wish I could hug her tiny shoulders again, or kiss her smooth little grandma cheek one more time. I wish I had just one more chance to tell her I love her and say it with such heart that she can feel how much I mean it.
So in my emotional mish-mash of love and sadness and relief for Grandma, of course I would turn to food.
I don’t know why I have this connection in my brain that all things monumental are somehow connected with food.
I guess because it comforts me.
I paged through Grandma’s book for something that made sense for a Sunday breakfast and that I would be able to share here.
I make a few things of hers over and over again – one of those is her banana bread – but that’s a closely guarded secret, another is a cookie recipe, another is her doughnuts – pretty sure that one is a secret too.
I found a couple of options, but we had several over-ripe bananas on our countertop, so I honed in on this recipe.
The ironic thing is that it doesn’t even have any comments on it – but the page does have pictures of Grandma and Grandpa holding my oldest boy in their laps at Christmas time when he was just a baby in a blue footed onesie and a Santa cap. That’s good enough for me.
It’s a coffee cake. It’s portable. It’s not too sweet, or too unsweet. It’s covered in a nice, buttery, crumb-nut topping.
Grandma clipped the recipe from somewhere – I’m not sure where. But she was a recipe collector too.
And she had a talented knack for picking the “goodies”.
Banana Breakfast Coffee Cake
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup 2% low-fat milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
For the topping, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in a food processor and process until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in walnuts. (I didn’t break out the food processor for this, I just worked the butter in with my fingers to the same crumb-like texture).
For the cake, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat butter with a mixer at medium speed about 30 seconds or until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat 3 to 4 minutes or until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla and bananas and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, mixing after each addition only until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle with topping.
Bake about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 10 – 16, depending on how you decide to slice it.
Source: I wish I had the true source of this – it’s not my intention to skip proper credit. It’s a clipping from somewhere. If anyone knows, please comment and I will post it here. It looks like it may be from the back of a box or bag, and it has to be fairly recent because there is nutrition info printed at the bottom of the recipe. When did that start?
Speaking of that, here it is:
Nutrition Info per serving (10 slice size):
370 calories, 20g fat, 4g prot, 48g carbs, 1g fiber, 300 mg sodium