I am back at college, and I just ran out of ^ this today. I made two loaves about a month ago, scarffed one in about a week, and froze the other, ostensibly to eat later…which turned into my mom saying: “You’ve got a loaf of zucchini bread and a loaf of banana bread in the freezer. Do you want to take them to Washington with you?” and me vigorously nodding my head, because really, I sometimes need a serious pick-me-up (several times a day) during the week. Especially when you’re just getting used to a new kitchen, and remembering what it’s like to cook for yourself (and three others!) every single day. Urgh…I am repeating a mantra to myself: “I love cooking, I love cooking, I love doing so many dishes cooking…” (Please note that the strike-outs in this post are not in any way indicative of my mood at the moment).
Anyway, because you are all here because you actually want to know about banana bread: this bread is truly delicious. I really make no changes to the recipe, because how do you alter something that you said was your favorite recipe when you were three years old (and in preschool)? It’s certainly malleable – if you don’t want chocolate chips in your banana bread (really?) you can absolutely take them out. If you want to add nuts (really?!) you can add nuts. The basic recipe itself, however, is pretty bomb proof. It can be made into muffins (the original recipe is made for muffins) or bread, as I’ve been doing the past couple of times I’ve made it. Best of all, if you have some questionable bananas hanging out in your kitchen, this recipe will by all means fix that problem before the fruit flies come out. And it makes an awesome snack/dessert/etc.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Courtesy of Crème de Colorado*)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar (I started using organic brown sugar, and can I please tell you how delicious it is?!)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups very ripe mashed bananas (My mom’s copy of this recipe has a hand-written note saying that this is about 3 medium bananas – depending on how intense you want your banana flavor, I think that you can easily go to four – or just go by the amount of cups you actually generate [which only works if you are well planned for this…])
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (If you are using nuts instead of the chocolate, I would use at least 3/4 of a cup)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and the brown sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift by hand the flour, salt, and baking powder. When the wet mixture is well combined, add the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. At this point, the mixture may look a little bit dry – add the bananas and mix well again. Add the chocolate chips. If making muffins, use a soup spoon to dollop some into the muffin cups. Otherwise, pour into a well-greased 1 lb bread pan. If baking muffins, bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown (and tester comes out clean). If baking bread: bake for about 50 minutes. Mine has been taking longer, but I certainly would encourage you to start with less time and increase. Absolutely use a tester, because while the edges will pull away and brown, the inside may not be ready yet. Allow to cool for ten to twenty minutes before removing the bread and allowing it to finish cooling on a bread rack.
*Because I am plugging more things than I intended to…I’m a Colorado native, and while I’ve never really understood what a Junior League does, the Junior League of Denver has published a Colorado-themed cookbook almost every year since I was born – and more or less without fail, they’re excellent. I currently own Colorado Classique and think it’s wonderful.