When we were first married, my husband was in the Navy. Stationed in Puerto Rico, we had banana trees growing in our yard, so I found ways to use dozens of ripe bananas at a time. I made these banana squares often. They freeze well and make a great snack to have on hand when friends drop in for coffee.
—Susan Miller, Raleigh, North Carolina
In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; set aside. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg yolks; mix well. Add bananas. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Fold in egg whites. Fold in nuts if desired.
Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
If desired, garnish with whipped cream and a few banana slices.