Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ginger Plum Jam Banana Bread

Merry Christmas!


I'm sure that most of you are with friends and family right now, enjoying your presents.  However, when you return to the virtual world from the real-life world of Christmas (or in case you have some Christmas downtime), I thought I'd share one more holiday recipe.

I have to say that baking cookies and other treats for people has really helped me feel like I am in the holiday spirit, in a way I haven't in a long time. I was also lucky enough to get a care packages of treats, including some lovely plum jam, from a good foodie friend who cans her own preserves. So in the interest of sharing and caring, it seemed fitting to use some of her jam for this Christmas post.

Of course, I realize that not all of my readers are lucky enough to have access to ginger plum jam.  But any slightly tart-fruited jam would work.  Of course, you're also free to use strawberry, which someone decided long ago is the 'go to' pairing with all things banana. But with ginger spices, I think that cherry, quince, cranberry, and slightly more astringent-tasting preserves would work even better.

I must admit, as I wait until I am 'allowed' to go over my father's and stepmother's house at the appointed hour of 1pm, I am nostalgic even for the most imperfect Christmases of my past.  I remember one Christmas, the first after my mother's divorce, we went to Washington D.C. on Christmas Day.  Although people who deal with the real politics of Washington may chuckle, I loved the pristine serenity of the temple-like monuments, which stood in such stark contrast to my chaotic life at age 13.  The next day, I adored the orderly nature of the museums along the Mall. Walking in museums makes you feel as if you are a part of something very important, even if you have nothing particularly important to do.

I remember that Christmas Day, I ate a fruit platter in the hotel dining room as my main meal, wearing red Snoopy Christmas sweats.

I also remember many Christmases with my mom, eating in diners, going to the movies, stopping at the drug store so I could get some extra paperback books or candy as an extra present for myself...and one particularly unwise decision on my part to eat nonpareil mints for my Christmas Day dinner.  I used to love mint chocolate before, but now I have, if not an aversion, a slight, nauseating feeling about the flavor combination that everyone else loves so much.  Still, it was a memorable Christmas meal, nonetheless!

So eat, drink, be merry, and make this for breakfast tomorrow, since you probably have the day off.  Just take it easy on the nonpareils.

Ginger Plum Jam Banana Bread


1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger

3 large, overripe bananas
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons plum jam


1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter or oil a 8X4 loaf pan.

2. Sift the flour, baking soda, sugars, and dry spices together.

3. Mash the bananas, add the eggs, oil, and vanilla and gradually spoon in the dry mixture.

4. Dollop half the mixture into the loaf pan, top with three tablespoons of the jam.  Add the rest of the mixture, spoon on three tablespoons of jam.  Swirl with a knife, dragging the blade vertically through the loaf.

5. Bake for approximately an hour until a toothpick can be extracted clean.  Be careful to impale the bread in an area without jam, for an accurate reading. Cool and serve.


  1. OMG I want to bake! This and the shiny dolls are a good vicarious holiday experience, since my day was otherwise very December 25. But I watched the Glee special and confirmed that yes, the Live Aid song is really the tackiest holiday song ever. Makes "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" seem classy. Feed the world!

  2. I don't remember when exactly I ate too many chocolate mints, but today the combination of mint and chocolate appeal to me about as much as they do to you. The lame part of it is that it was never a favorite combination to begin with, but I was a kid who rarely got chocolate and was willing to deal with the mint to get to the chocolate.

  3. @Catboy--You have summed up perfectly why I ate so many mints that day--they were the only chocolate substance in the home, hence my inhaling of them--never my favorite combo and absolutely overpowering on the stomach if indulged to excess. I actually developed a theory that people who love mint chocolate don't really like chocolate that much at all--the type of people who just want to have a mint and call it a day.

    @MD--you'd like the vegan chocolate bread recipe I made couple of posts ago, and it's very small kitchen-friendly! I watched the Knicks game at my dad's rather than Glee. Thank goodness for sports as a way of avoiding awkward silent moments during family interactions!