I try not to bake anymore, because it's just like Field of Dreams: If I bake it, I will it eat. Ok, so that's not exactly the quote from the movie, but the prophecy gets fulfilled in much the same way. The other day however, I was forced to bake. Forced, I tell you. The bananas made me. The sneaky guys looked bright yellow and cheery, but inside they were mushy, ripe way past their prime. I refused to let them go without putting them to work so of course I did the only thing I could: I made banana bread. With chocolate in it, cause chocolate makes everything better.
The look so innocent don't they? Never trust a banana...
Make some chocolatey banana mischief yourself...
Aside from re-purposing otherwise un-ingestible produce, the great thing about banana bread is that I can pretty much guarantee you have what you need to make it in your cupboard already. And if not, just make it up. No baking soda? Just use baking powder and add extra. Only have olive oil? It'll work just fine. Go ahead, check your cupboard now, I bet you're good to go.
Here's what you'll need (recipe adapted from smitten kitchen):
3 or 4 offensively ripe bananas
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. blonde sugar (or your sweetener of choice. Adjust amount as needed)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda (again, I didn't have it, so I used 3 tsp. baking powder and it worked just fine)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 175° C. Mash the bananas, mix them with the wet ingredients, add the dry ones. I will say that because my sneaky bananas were waaay past overripe, the entire loaf turned out a bit too sweet for my taste, even with only 1/3 cup of sugar in there. So take that into consideration. Fun fact: as bananas ripen, their starch turns into sugar, so they get progressively sweeter and sweeter. If yours are beyond slightly mushy, adjust the sugar in the recipe accordingly.
Once that's all mixed up, the fun begins. Toss in your favorites: nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, whatever your heart desires. I found these amazing caramelized cocoa nibs from the Farmer's Market in Madison and knew that was just the kick my quick bread needed.
Don't they look wonderful? They're kind of sweet, kind of bitter, kind of crunchy, kind of chewy, and all kinds of awesome.
Pour your delicious batter into a loaf pan.
And now, while it bakes, lick your spoon. And the entire bowl too. No point in letting any of it go to waste.
Your banana bread will be ready after about 40 minutes, when the tester comes out clean. Wait about 10 minutes and then flip it and free it, leaving it on a cooling rack until it's room temperature.
Who are we kidding. Resist as long as you can. And then go for it. It should be crackled and crusty on top, soft and moist and crumby on the inside.
Delicious! What will you put in your banana bread?