Personally, I don't really like bananas. Okay, that's putting it too lightly: until I fed them as baby food to my son, I could barely smell a banana without wanting to throw up. I don't know what it is, but I've always hated them. Which, really, is a shame. They're healthy, conveniently packaged, and inexpensive. But, my husband likes them occasionally and I'm all for having more fruit and vegetables available for the family. Plus, I don't think bananas are too terrible when they're mixed in stuff (except pudding or Jell-O. Ick.).
Since bananas aren't eaten super-fast at our house (even though I don't buy a big bunch of them), they have a tendency to turn all spotted and black. This is totally fine, though. I just freeze them for smoothies or for banana bread. I'm quite sure most people do this, so I thought I would post a recipe I found a year or so ago in my favorite (but now defunct) magazine, Wondertime. The recipe is for "banana bread bites" - instead of the traditional loaf, this bread recipes lends itself to a more interactive approach with cookie cutters. Here's the recipe:
Banana Bread Bites
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon (I added a little more since I love the stuff)
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 medium bananas mashed (equals about a cup)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Heat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 baking pan. Mix all the ingredients together, in order listed. Pour the batter into dish - spread evenly. Bake until toothpick comes out clean - about 15 minutes. Let the bread cool on a wire rack for an hour or until completely cooled.
Once the bread has cooled, use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. I think smaller cutters work best, but I only had my big ones available. This recipe supposedly yields 2 1/2 dozen pieces - with my giant cookie cutters we got like ten shapes and then a bunch of short edge pieces that were too small to cut out. That said, my little guy still had fun cutting out stars, hearts, and Mickey Mouse shapes.
Once you've cut the bread with the cookie cutters, dust them lightly with powdered sugar. I think my son may have liked this last step the most. He got powdered sugar on everything, including himself. Baking with kids is the best - and even better when it's easy and inexpensive.