Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread

Back in January I mentioned in the Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs post that I would get over my qualms about "sticking to the original mission" of this blog and just post my indulgent banana bread recipe.  Here are the rationalizations:
  1. There have been occasions in which I have made this my dinner.  I'm not proud, but it therefore remains honest to the blog's mission statement.
  2. To reduce the calories in the original Martha Stewart recipe, I replace sour cream with nonfat greek yogurt.
  3. I always make this recipe in a mini loaf pan, minimizing serving size. 
Now, all of those rationalizations don't really hold water given that there's no excuse for eating banana bread for dinner, that I more than compensate for saved calories by adding chocolate chips, and that by baking mini loaves it is much more likely that I justify consuming an entire loaf on those occasions that satisfy rationalization #1.

So, here's the recipe.  It makes a very moist and decadent banana bread that bridges that very fine and uniquely American line between breakfast and dessert.  I've never tried making french toast out of it, but support those of you who want to try.

Ingredients (makes 1 large, or 4 mini, loaves):
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 or 3 overripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional, as are the chocolate chips...I guess)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees (325 if making mini loaves) and grease your loaf pan.

In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and mix on high speed until fluffy-ish. 

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add in portions to the butter/sugar/egg and mix until just combined.
Add the banana, yogurt, and vanilla.  Mix to combine.  Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts by hand and fill your pan.
Since I always do mini loafs, they bake in about 25 minutes.  It will take longer if you make a large loaf, so just monitor the oven closely once the the top becomes golden brown.  If you find the edges are getting dark before the center is golden, then just turn down the heat and keep your eye on it.  You'll know its done when a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out with a few moist crumbs.  

Since I like my banana bread pushing the mushy side in the center, I always immediately remove the loaves from the pan and place them on a rack to cool.  I also recommend storing them in a plastic bag on the counter overnight - they become more moist and dense for the next day.  Finally, bring to work and share with colleagues. 

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