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Posts Tagged ‘Banana’

Baking isn’t a sure thing. I’ve heard it’s a science but since I’m not an exact measurer and English was my best subject, my talents lie more in unpretentious, candid culinary storytelling and sharing goods from my kitchen when they turn out to be delicious.

Enter banana bread. Other than the rare few who don’t like anything baked with brown bananas, people will generally accept the offering of a fat slice of tender chocolate chip banana bread.

chocolate chip banana bread

If you’re on the baking end, banana bread recipes are typically easy-going and tolerant of even the most novice bakers. But somehow I found a way to bake a deep, doughy sinkhole in my most recent loaf. The problem wasn’t the recipe.

chocolate chip banana bread

I tried to be too fancy by placing thin slices of bananas down the center of the loaf before sliding it into the oven. Why? Because one of my favorite muffins, banana chocolate chip, from Kowalski’s Markets has a few crunchy bananas baked on top and I wanted it to be like that. But I think the mushy rows of bananas on top wouldn’t really bake—I even turned the broiler on at the end! I finally had to take the bread out of the oven because the top was getting too brown.

I think I tried doing this once with banana chips but I can’t remember how it turned out. Maybe I need to wait until the bread is half or three-quarters baked and then toss banana chips on top. Or perhaps a baker from Kowalski’s Markets will tell me their secret.

chocolate chip banana bread

To top off my fiasco, I was planning to share the bread with my sisters that day so I needed it to cool down quickly. After the bread cooled for an hour or so, I stuck it in the fridge and next thing I know, there was a cavernous sinkhole down the center. The upside of this story is that this recipe is a keeper (if you don’t add mushy banana slices to the top). It is magnificently tender and chocolatey.

I only slightly adapted the recipe from one of my go-to recipe and entertaining blogs Reluctant Entertainer. My additions to Sandy’s Sour Cream Banana Bread include a cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom, and using white and brown sugar.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup mashed overripe (brown or spotted) bananas, about 3 bananas

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 350° and grease a 9-inch loaf pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy (about 4 minutes).
  3. Beat in eggs.
  4. Stir in bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat on medium-low until incorporated.
  5. In a separate medium bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, cardamom, soda, and salt.
  6. Gradually and slowly beat in the flour mixture in three batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each, but be gentle—overbeating the batter will create a tough banana bread. It’s fine to see some flecks of flour still.
  7. Fold in chocolate chips.
  8. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean (or with only melted chocolate).
  9. Cool 15 minutes then remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Store at room temperature in airtight container up to four days.

Sweet, sinking wishes,

Staci

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The soft, dark-spotted bananas that you’ll have leftover from this weekend’s camping trip are destined for traditional banana bread. But if you’re looking to mash those bananas into something new, try this tender, not too moist Peanut Butter Banana Bread from Clabber Girl or our family favorite Double Chocolate Banana Muffin Loaves.

The peanut butter banana bread recipe makes two 8×4″ loaves but I made one large loaf and eight mini loaves. The frosting wasn’t quite enough for all those loaves but a dab of softened, salty butter and a drizzle of local honey on a warm slice of the bread turns it into the perfect sidekick for your morning caffeine.

Peanut butter banana bread

All these loaves freeze well so you can take them on your next camping trip. (Don’t tell anyone, but I forgot to add the chocolate chunks.)

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There’s been a lot of chocolate around the house lately so it was good timing for something different. Lucky for me, I had bananas that were the perfect ripeness for baking moist, cake-like bars.

Even if you don’t have ripe bananas at the moment, you most likely know that you can freeze extra ripe bananas and thaw them when you are ready to bake. My preferred method is to peel them, smash them, and put the banana mush into freezer bags labeled with the number of bananas I used.  Most recipes call for approximately one to one and a half cups of banana, which you can usually get out of 3-4 medium-sized bananas. It works best to freeze them in that portion size.

{Cinnamon Banana Bars with Vanilla Cream Frosting}

Bars:

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2-1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1-1/2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup butter softened (1  1/2 sticks)

1-1/2 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1-1/2 cups mashed, ripe bananas

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

 6 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 Tablespoons butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract (I like using Vanilla Bean Crush which adds the tiny flecks of vanilla.)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 15×10-inch jelly roll/bar pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In large bowl beat brown sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes of until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan. 

For Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: beat cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar in a small mixer until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Spread on completely cooled bars. Store in the refrigerator and serve at room temperature.

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There must be a defining moment in every food blogger’s life when they realize they are a true foodie. My moment was when I made these mini Double Chocolate Banana Muffin loaves a couple of weeks ago to give to my college student employees who were starting classes the next day. I wanted to give them a ‘sweet’  homemade surprise but I didn’t have time to take photos of the muffin loaves before work. So I made the decision not to bring them in until the next day. {Every great recipe deserves a great photo!}

 

You will love these muffins for a few reasons:

1.  Seriously. Delicious. Chocolate. Banana.

2.  You can bake them in any size pan. I’ve used traditional, square and mini muffin pans, a mini loaf pan (like the one pictured below) and I’ve used a medium loaf pan (a Pampered Chef pan that makes 4 medium loaves). Remember; these are muffins so they don’t really “slice” like bread does.

3.  Easy to freeze so it’s a great recipe to bake on weekends and freeze individual portions.

4.  Great for gift-giving. Really. Just ask my grandma and my mom.

5.  Since muffins are technically a breakfast food, you get away with eating chocolate in the morning. (Don’t worry, I’ll never be hired as a lunch lady in the public school system.)

The recipe is from a Taste of Home magazine. I have a lot of baking magazines so I make copies of some of my favorite recipes and add them to my recipe binders (the larger, more unorganized version of a recipe box) so they are easier to find.

 

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

1  1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1  1/3 cup mashed ripe bananas (Yes! Use the brown mushy ones.)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Make the muffins: In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, combine bananas, oil and egg; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are done. 

 

What are some of your favorite muffin flavors?

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