Saturday, 10 September 2011

Chocolate-chip banana bread recipe

Chocolate-chip banana bread

It might not win a cake beauty contest, but I've always had a soft spot for banana bread. For starters, it's a self-effacing, everyday kind of bake. A cake you can legitimately eat for breakfast. The Aussies do it all the time, toasted and slathered in butter.

Secondly, it's almost embarrasingly easy to make, so it's a great cake to make when you're starting out baking - a 5hr Great British Bake Off technical challenge the banana bread is not.

Thirdly, banana bread appeals to my inner tight-wad. I hate throwing food away. So, ever since I read a piece by Molly Wizenburg on the joys of freezing whole bananas, I've never thrown away another bruised or battered banana. Instead, there's a drawer of our freezer that doubles as a retirement home for past-their-prime bananas, frozen in time until they can be recalled into service for muffins and banana breads.

If you've never defrosted a banana in the microwave before it can be a disconcerting experience. Split open the skin, blackened by frost, and out slinks a grey-brown slug. Don't panic! It's now the exact ripe and mushy texture to make banana bread.

Banana bread is a vehicle for lots of complimentary flavours. It works with most nuts and dried fruits. Plus, most importantly, chocolate. Two of my favourite versions are Molly Wizenburg's banana  bread with dark chocolate and crystalised ginger from her book My Homemade Life, and Sophie Dahl's banana bread with coconut and crème fraîche, from her former column in Waitrose Food Illustrated.

Chocolate-chip banana bread is my own humble addition to the banana-y canon. It's certainly not going to make prom queen but it's a warm and cosy cake for this time of year, when the leaves are falling, the winds are gathering pace and you need something a little more comforting than cereal to ease you into the day. We've been eating it for breakfast, served warm with a big spoonful of sheep's yoghurt and a bigger mug of Earl Grey.

Best of all, banana bread freezes like a dream. So, in the same freezer drawer as the frozen bananas we now have bags of chocolate-chip banana bread. It's a perfect circle, people.

Chocolate-chip banana bread

4 medium-size ripe bananas
150g unsalted butter
150g light soft brown sugar
2 medium free-range eggs
150g milk chocolate chips
300g white spelt flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.

 Mash the bananas with a fork (if using frozen bananas, defrost in the microwave on low for 1 minute first).

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until very pale and fluffy. Stir in the bananas with a large metal spoon. 

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add to the butter and banana mixture about a third at a time, followed by a third of the beaten egg. Beat well with the electric mixer after each addition. Add the oil and beat until the mixture is smooth. 

Add the chocolate chips and fold them in with the large metal spoon just until they are distributed well throughout the batter.

Pour into the loaf tin and use a spatula or palette knife to smooth the top. Bake for 1 hr or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. 

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Serve warm. 

What's your favourite thing to add to banana bread? Let me know in the comments below.


Kavey said...

I love banana cake for all the same reasons as you give above. Love the way you've said it!

it's a self-effacing, everyday kind of bake...
It's a cake you can legitimately eat for breakfast...
It's almost embarrasingly easy to make...

Katy Salter @ Pinch of Salt said...

Thanks for the lovely comment Kavey. I think the word 'bread' adds to it's sense of everydayness - and anyway of shoehorning cake and chocolate into breakfast has to be good!

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

I adore banana bread and make it way too often for the good of my blog or my waist line. In fact I have 2 very ripe bananas in the kitchen awaiting their fate. I bake my banana bread with sultanas and sometimes rum! You've encapsulated my feelings for the stuff too. Xx

Kavey said...

Oops, hadn't even meant to rename it in my comment!

I mentally think of it as banana cake because, for me, it's not really like any bread I think of as bread, but more like cake, albeit the kind of cake one can enjoy for breakfast.

That said, I've enjoyed black forest gateau for breakfast so I'm not one to talk!


John Green said...

Simply Delicious

E said...

Yums! If you don't have any spelt (an ancient grain, I've heard) will boring old normal flour do here?

tori said...

Banana bread and a coffee were the only things that got me through my Masters. So much so, that these days I combine them (I add a shot of espresso to the mix). I think that, with the chocolate, could be just a little too much fun.

E said...

I made this and brought it into work where it was a big hit! extremely tasty stuff xx

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