I often seem to be battling a space issue in my deep-freeze. When this happens, I usually notice a whole door shelf (or two) is filled with frozen bananas. Bananas are always in the fruit bowl, but they often move past that small window during which my husband and son consider them edible. Just a little past that point and they get thrown in the freezer. I actually don’t like the taste of bananas, so they are usually thrown in as they are, just the banana in its peel. I know, I know, how can I not like banana? Well, I blame it on all the banana flavoured fluoride treatments that the dental hygienists gave us back in the late 1970’s. Anyway, placing whole bananas in the freezer is a perfectly fine way to store overripe bananas, but if I can catch them before they go in, I prefer to peel them and through them in a freezer bag, or if I am really energetic mash them and freeze them in 1 cup portions.
To use up all those bananas, I have tried banana-oatmeal cookies, banana snack cake, banana pancakes, banana ice-cream and more, but in my family’s opinion those are all a waste of time because chocolate-chip banana bread will always be number one in their hearts. Once I came to accept this fact, I experimented with different banana loaves. I tried the famous Flour bakery version by Joanne Chang. I tried a double chocolate style, a peanut butter banana loaf and many more. These all appeared to be a waste of time too, as the request always comes back to my “original” chocolate chip banana bread, the one off the back of the Hershey’s Chipit package. My family is so set on this classic version, they also say no to the addition of toasted walnuts!
So below, direct from the back of a chocolate-chip package is my family’s favourite banana bread recipe. Before you start, I have a couple secrets to great banana bread, even if you are using your own family classic. First of all, I usually mash my bananas with a fork and leave them a bit lumpy. I have been told that loaves with a few pockets of banana are better than a completely homogenous loaf. Also, as a quick bread, you do not want to overmix the batter or you many end up with banana brick instead of banana bread. Add the chocolate chips (and nuts, if using), before the wet and dry ingredients are completely mixed together. Then mix gently just until the wet and dry and ingredients are completely combined.
Chocolate-Chip Banana Bread
makes 1 loaf
250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder
5 ml (1 tsp) Kosher salt
2.5 ml (½ tsp) baking soda
300 g (1 cup) mashed, overripe bananas (about 2 large)
200g (1 cup) sugar
108 g (½ cups) canola oil
170 g (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
50 g (½ cup) toasted, chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 23cm (9”) x 13 cm (5”) loaf pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together bananas, sugar, canola oil and eggs. Add dry ingredients and stir until almost combined. Add chocolate chips and walnuts (if using) and stir until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake until top springs back when lightly touched. This will take about 60 to 75 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove loaf and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Note: The prepared batter can also be used for muffins. Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin tins and bake until tops spring back when lightly touched. About 20 to 30 minutes. Makes about 12 – 16 muffins depending on size.