Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Shhhhhhh.  It's a secret.

This is my world-famous, best banana bread recipe.

You may all applaud now.  I wouldn't mind a little confetti either.

I generally wrinkle my nose at people who describe food as sexy.  Please, you're making me uncomfortable, objectifying my dinner like that.  But damn, this is some sexy banana bread.  The barely warm chocolate, lusciously melting and seeping into a soft, supple loaf that perfumes the air with its heady aromas of butter and banana.  You raise a slice to your lips, you take a bite.  You swoon a little.

And then, if you're a stress eater like me, you forget about how sexy your banana bread is and shovel a couple slices into your mouth.

In the interest of keeping this post short, since I should be finishing up my linguistics final right now, it will suffice to say that I have used this recipe for so long that I can't remember not using it.  It originally came from the 1997 edition of the Joy of Cooking.  I've adapted it over the years to streamline its flavors and to make it a one bowl, one utensil enterprise.  This may be my favorite recipe to prepare, and one of my favorite foods ever.  If you have a better banana bread recipe, well, challenge accepted.  Mine is the best I've eaten. Bring it on, fool.

Disclaimer: I don't mean to be combative, but finals week makes me sassy, and I am very proud of my banana bread.  And since this recipe is basically my baby, it's taken a lot for me to share it with you.  It's like I'm sending my child off to preschool for the first time (I'm not a mommy but... My inherent mommy instincts, and other reliable sources, tell me that this is a reasonable comparison).

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1/3 c (5 1/3 tablespoons) softened, unsalted butter
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/3 c all-purpose, unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 small or medium very very ripe bananas, peeled
1/2 c bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, use a rubber spatula to fold the brown sugar into the butter.  Once combined, stir vigorously, mashing against the side of the bowl (you're helping to make little air pockets by cutting the sugar crystals in the butter this way).  Stir in the vanilla and eggs thoroughly.  On top of the wet mix, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Stir the leavening and salt into the flour a little before folding all the dry ingredients into the wet (it'll help make sure the leavening is evenly distributed).  

Into a gallon-size plastic baggie, add the peeled bananas, then seal out as much air as possible.  Mash the bananas, until only a few small pieces are left whole (you could mash it all the way, but I like having a couple little nuggets of whole banana).  Cut one of the bottom corners of the baggie, and squeeze the banana pulp into the bowl.  Stir in the banana until just combined, then add in the chocolate chips.  Pour into a prepared loaf pan, and bake for ~45 minutes, until the batter is barely set.  When you press on the top, the loaf should be firm, but the exposed flesh beneath the cracked crust should look not quite done.  It'll carry-over cook when you take it out of the oven.  Let cool to room temperature before slicing and devouring.

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