That's usually how you know it's done ... when you can smell it. I mean REALLY smell every morsel wafting into the living room. Then it's ready to be pulled out of the oven with my big red mitt! Martha taught me that a cracked crown is the only way banana bread ever comes out of the oven ... a relief since I thought I was doing something terribly wrong. But alas ... everything was just right!
I've enjoyed baking this past year. The 15 pounds around my waist will attest to my explorations in the kitchen. I should be able to use weight as a marketing tool. "If you want to know how well I bake just take a good look at me! These thighs weren't born over night!!"
It's unfortunate, really. Baked goods are so wonderfully scrumptious and comforting and filling and ... well ... a delicious baked treat on the counter makes me feel like a successful wife and a good mom. My husband is happy, my daughter is happy ... and I'm completely satisfied that something I made came out well.
My first banana bread was a disaster and I swore I would never bake again. I was horrified that all those ingredients and all that time I spent produced a loaf of YUCK. So I never baked again. Well .. until Jen Mangialomini ventured into the kitchen with me and helped me make a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread and taught me that reading a recipe SEVERAL times really makes a difference.
I have a habit of reading fast, dumping ingredients, mixing in random order, and expecting a sure thing. I've proven this procedure to produce baked failures time and again.
So no more dumping, mixing, and speed reading for me. My favorite baking book of all time is the Baking Illustrated book. It explains the WHY of the recipe ... and this helped my old theory of "it all ends up in the oven anyway".
Well, the butter is melted, the pecans are toasted, and bananas are waiting to be mashed ... stop over in the morning and enjoy a slice with me. But come early ... it'll go fast!
(I also found the recipe posted here: leitesculinaria.com)