Thursday, May 22, 2014

Carb loading...

Bananas have never been my favorite fruit. That honor (is it an honor to be someone's favorite fruit??) belongs to the cherry. I have great memories of picking cherries off the tree behind my grandparents' house... my grandmother would make stewed cherries and we'd eat them for breakfast, or over vanilla ice cream... and cherry pies were always on the summer menu. Nowadays, I love frozen cherries in smoothies... and cherries combined with chocolate? Well, that's just deliciousness on top of perfection...

But bananas? Eh... I mean, it's not that I outright HATE bananas (although I do hate anything with banana flavor, like candy or gum). I'll eat one if I'm really hungry and there's nothing else around... and I keep sliced bananas in the freezer along with my frozen cherries for the aforementioned smoothies. (But don't be fooled by the concept of "banana soft serve" that's been touted all over the internet as a healthy substitute for ice cream. It's nothing like soft serve ice cream -- what it IS like is pureed frozen bananas. If you love bananas, go for it. But if you love soft serve ICE CREAM, just go to Dairy Queen... because pureed frozen bananas are really disappointing if you're craving ice cream.)

But something magical happens if you combine bananas with butter, sugar, eggs and flour. (Of course, "butter, sugar, eggs and flour" is pretty much the template for the creation of all KINDS of carby magic.) I may have never been a fan of bananas, but I love banana bread. Especially the banana bread recipe my mom always made when I was growing up. I would sneak a slice before bed, and then look forward to another slice for breakfast the next morning...

And it took me YEARS of making this recipe myself before I finally got the idea to add chocolate chips (seriously, what took me so long??), which makes it less of a breakfast bread and more of a dessert... although you could still eat it for breakfast, if you want. Not that I'VE ever done that. ;)

Since this stuff is so good, I don't make it very often... a loaf of banana bread lasts about a day and a half around here. But when Rick came home from work the other day and told me that a colleague had brought in some banana bread that his wife had baked, I immediately responded with, "challenge accepted!" (Never mind the fact that no challenge was actually issued...) So about 15 percent of this loaf stayed here in my house... the other 85 percent went to the office with Rick. Good thing, because it has been requested that I bake cupcakes for Eric's birthday this weekend (challenge accepted!), and I wouldn't want to exceed my chocolate quota for the week...

Mom's Banana Bread (plus chocolate chips!)
1/3 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 and 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
chocolate chips (I never really measure my chocolate chips -- I use the "add until it looks like there's enough chocolate" method. But I'd guess about half a cup?)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a loaf pan with butter.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, then add eggs and mix well. In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then alternate adding the dry ingredients and the mashed banana to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Fold in chocolate chips until there's no doubt that the healthiness of the banana is cancelled out by the decadence of the chocolate. Add the whole beautiful mixture to the loaf pan, and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. (Tip: definitely check for doneness with a toothpick -- this bread has a tendency to LOOK done before it IS done.)

Whether you eat it for breakfast or not is up to you...



  1. I used to make banana bread for cooking competitions but never actually ate it (don't like it). I like eating bananas, but I like them cold, not warm.

  2. I like frozen bananas more than room temperature bananas -- it's weird how the flavor seems to change depending on temperature/preparation! :)