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Banana Bread Cockaigne


There are a couple notable things about this classic recipe that dates back to 1946. One is the optional lemon zest, which seems like an unnecessary fillip. And while it is purely optional, we love the little flavor boost it gives, so if we have a lemon on hand we always add the zest.


The second item is the optional dried apricots. Again, to the banana bread purist, this will seem like gilding the lily, but we have grown so fond of the little bursts of tangy apricot flavor that we add them every time.


We try to wait until our bananas are extremely ripe before making this classic bread, but sometimes we are impatient. If your appetite for banana bread has outstripped your ability to wait for your bananas to ripen, simply roast them in their skins at 350°F until they turn dark brown, 20 to 30 minutes.


Banana Bread Cockaigne


One 8½ x 4½-inch loaf (about 8 servings)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8½ × 4½-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together in a medium bowl:

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Beat in a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle at medium speed until creamy:

⅔ cup sugar

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, softened

            (Finely grated zest of one lemon)

Beat in:

           2 large eggs, beaten

           1¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (from 2 to 3 large bananas)

Add the dry ingredients, beating until smooth. Fold in, if desired:

(½ cup chopped toasted walnuts) 

(¼ cup finely chopped dried apricots)

Scrape the batter into the greased pan. Bake the bread about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a rack, then unmold. Let cool completely before slicing, and serve with plenty of:

            Softened salted butter


A New Generation of JOY


In the nearly ninety years since Irma Rombauer self-published the first Joy of Cooking, it has become the kitchen bible, with more than 20 million copies in print. This new edition of Joy has been thoroughly revised and expanded by Irma’s great-grandson John Becker and his wife, Megan Scott. They developed more than six hundred new recipes for this edition, tested and tweaked thousands of classic recipes, and updated every section of every chapter to reflect the latest ingredients and techniques available to today’s home cooks. Their strategy for revising this edition was the same one Irma and Marion employed: Vet, research, and improve Joy’s coverage of legacy recipes while introducing new dishes, modern cooking techniques, and comprehensive information on ingredients now available at farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Joy is and has been the essential and trusted guide for home cooks for almost a century. This new edition continues that legacy.