Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This banana bread has been a go to recipe of mine for years. I used to make it frequently with a marscapone icing (that I will post another day if anyone is interested), but now I tend to make it in either muffin, or loaf format.  What makes this recipe so versatile is that it’s decadent enough to serve as a tasty dessert (I especially like serving it at lunch or brunch), but also healthy enough that you don’t feel too guilty about having a slice for breakfast on occasion.  The secret is extremely ripe bananas: I wait until they are too ripe for my family (ie, they are developing brown spots), then I let them sit out until they are almost completely brown and kind of squishy.  Because they are so overripe, these bananas are sweeter (and easier to mash).  I find that the best way to ensure that you always have these overripe, extra sweet bananas, is to peel them and pop them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer: this way they won’t go bad before you get a chance to use them, and you will have enough on hand when you randomly decide that you just have to have banana bread.  You can definitely freeze them unpeeled, but it is much more of a headache when you try and use them.  Bonus, this bread will freeze well in any format!

Ingredients:

3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Cup Brown Sugar (I buy dark brown)
1 Cups Chocolate Chips (I strongly recommend using semi sweet for this recipe: I like Bakers and Ghiradelli)
1 Cup Canola Oil (you can also use vegetable if you’d prefer) plus a bit extra to coat your dish if you are baking as a loaf
3 Large Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
5 Ripe Bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed (I find it cathartic to use my hands for this)

Tools:

Muffin tray or baking dish (I like using my Le Creuset stoneware)
Muffin papers
Stand mixer (I am OBSESSED with my Kitchenaid Professional Mixer)
Extra bowl

Method:

Pre heat your oven to 325 F.  It will take quite a while to bake a large banana loaf, but do NOT turn up the heat to speed up the process: you’ll end up with a burnt bottom, and underdone center.

First, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Next, beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl in your stand mixer.

 

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Once the mixture is creamy and smooth, add in your banana.

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Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  

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Some people would stop here, and you can, but I like to add chocolate chips to make it even more delicious.  Depending on your stand mixer, you may find it easier to fold in the chips by hand.  I have no issue with my Professional Series, but my Artisan used to shake a bit.

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Make sure to scrape the sides of your bowl with a spatula.  The last thing you want when you pour the batter into muffin papers or a baking pan, is to find unmixed dry ingredients: it will affect the taste and consistency of your final product.

Bake your muffins for approximately 20 min; your loaf will take anywhere from 40 min to an hour, depending on it’s thickness.  Your banana bread is done when the top is slightly browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Underdone banana bread is extremely unappetizing: you’d rather a bit overdone than under, trust me.

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As always, I suggest eating chocolate desserts with a large glass of milk (but a coffee or tea is just as good!).

Enjoy!!

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Banana, blueberry and apple oat muffins

After such a long hiatus since my last post, it seems only fitting that this is a recipe my almost 18 month old son loves as well. I’ve recently allowed him to try some of my baked goods and he loves them. I wanted to create a ‘healthier’ (ie, less sugar, more fruit and fiber) version of my banana muffins; a recipe I will eventually blog someday. I decided that adding oats, halving the sugar, and including two other fruits were the key. You could just as easily add in another berry/fruit to the mix, just keep your proportion of wet to dry in mind: no one likes a soggy muffin!  I also plan on taking these to work as an on the go breakfast for myself; what better way to start off your day than a delicious, and healthy, muffin?

Ingredients:

3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
6 Ripe Bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed (you can freeze over ripe bananas, then use them later)
1/2 Pint Blueberries
3 Royal Gala Apples, diced

Tools:

Muffin tray
Muffin papers
Mixer
Extra bowl

Method:

Pre heat your oven to 325 F.

Beat your sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend.

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Next, add your pre mashed banana.  Dice your apples, peel on, nice and small then add them to your other ingredients.

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Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend, then add your dry ingredients to your wet.  Finally, stir in your blueberries carefully to avoid mashing them.

IMG_7022-3Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake your muffins on the middle rack at 325 until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached; about 25 minutes for medium and 30 for large muffins.

Enjoy!

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