Yesterday I walked around the corner and came face to face with three pitiful looking bananas. Joe doesn’t like his bananas to have a speck of ripe on them, so I knew what had to be done. It was time to take one for the team…and make banana bread.
I think I’m over my fear of high-altitude baking. (Disclaimer: We’ll check back on this confidence when I make my first batch of cookies.) It seems like just upping the oven temperature 15-degrees and cutting the cooking time by 10-15 minutes does the trick. Which works out well, because I’m a very impatient baker. “It says bake for 75 minutes, but I’m sure an hour is enough.” “I think it’s cool enough to eat, we don’t need it to set any more than it already is.” All famous lines quoted in my kitchen many times before baking disasters struck.
I’ve never met a banana bread I didn’t like. Sometimes I go to my tried and true Flour Cookbook for her Famous Banana Bread – light and airy perfection. Other times I hit up Baked Element’s Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Bread – dense, flavorful and filling. I also like my mother-in-law’s recipe, which uses shortening. Can’t go wrong there, either. But, there’s one recipe that stands above the rest for its simplicity, taste and the story that goes with it.
Almost eleven months ago I was in Tampa visiting a very pregnant Bobbie, 41.5 weeks pregnant to be exact. There was nothing else to do but have the baby, so in full nesting mode Bobbie whipped up two batches of this banana bread. It was heavenly. We nibbled our way through one loaf before she went into labor. I’ll never forget that day and all of the emotions that coursed through my veins as the hours passed. When it was all over, I remember driving back to their house from the hospital that night, alone with my thoughts, and slicing off a pretty large piece (#confession)—eating out of joy and relief…and because it’s so comforting and delicious. I’ll never be able to think of anything else when it comes to this bread, so I’m going to start calling it “Abby Bread.” I know if she were to share a bite with her Aunt Marci today, she’d be donning her crazy excited face in happiness.
This recipe has everything I want: a perfect consistency that’ll stick to your ribs without weighing you down, it’s very m-word due to a bit of sour cream/yogurt, and the chocolate chips just send it over the top in decadence. And yet, it’s so simple to make. I encourage you to put a few (okay, 3) bananas out of sight, out of mind for a few days just for the excuse to try it. You’ll be falling in love and making your own memories with this recipe after one bite. I promise.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (“Abby Bread”)
From: How To Boil Water
Yields: 1 loaf
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
½ c. sugar
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
3 very ripe bananas
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/3 c. plain yogurt, whole, greek or low-fat (may substitute sour cream)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. mini chocolate chips (or use full size or use butterscotch or peanut butter…mmmm!)
¼ c. walnuts (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
Melt the butter is a small saucepan over medium heat or covered in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl
Mash the bananas with a fork in a medium bowl. Beat the egg in a small bowl with a fork or a whisk, then mix into the bananas. Mix in the yogurt, vanilla and butter. Stir in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts (if using) just as the batter comes together. Do not over mix. Batter should be wet, sticky and a little lumpy. Scoop batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 65 – 70 minutes. The bread should rise in the middle to a crown, feel springy when touched and pull away from the sides of the pan.
Cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the sides and slicing.
In other news, this happened today:
We all feel much better about it.