Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chocolate chip banana bread


Oh boy. Unemployment has apparently turned me into a housewife. I realized this the other day when I found myself in the kitchen, baking. BAKING. Those who know me are probably astonished to hear this, but apparently it's something I do (at least every now and then). But I enjoyed it, and the chocolate chip banana bread I made turned out great.

About that bread. I hadn't planned to make it--it was more of a last-minute project. I was cleaning up the kitchen (and the house in general, as we'd just gotten back in town after spending the Easter weekend with David's family) and was about to throw away a few brown bananas we'd never gotten around to eating when I remembered that I'd seen a recipe for chocolate chip banana bread online somewhere the week before. I've never made banana bread, but I do like bananas and I do like bread, and I really like chocolate chips (or pretty much any type of chocolate, for that matter), so I thought I'd give it a try.

I spent a few minutes trying to locate the recipe from the week before but couldn't find it. (I should've bookmarked it.... oh well; lesson learned.) Fortunately, the Internet is full of recipes like this, and after browsing a few, I chose to use this one.

I read the recipe and the reviews and decided to make a few changes (mainly to cooking time and the size of the pans I used), so I'm going to post what I did here. (I'll note where I did things differently than the original recipe; at any time, click on the link above to see the original.)

First, the ingredients. We already had everything except the chocolate chips, and I was on my way to the grocery anyway, so I just added those to the shopping list.

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces butter, softened
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


I used a little less sugar--closer to 3/4 cup, which I'd recommend. I also used more chocolate chips--closer to 1 1/2 cups, which I wouldn't recommend. I added them thinking it'd be nice to add a little more chocolate, and while it still tastes fine, I feel it's a little too chocolate-y (something that I didn't even realize was possible!). I didn't measure how much banana I used, but I used three bananas and I think that was about right for me. The chocolate chip and banana measurements can really be based on personal preference.

Time to bake!

First, preheat the oven to 325 and grease and flour the pans. The directions suggested using a  9x5x3-inch loaf pan, but based on the reviews, I learned that mini-pans generally worked better. Fortunately, I had four mini-pans. (I didn't use the pan on the far left, but had it ready in case I had extra batter.)


Chocolate chip banana bread wouldn't be chocolate chip banana bread without mashed bananas:


Cream the sugar and butter, then beat in the mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla.


 Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt).


Stir the dry ingredients into the first mixture just until moistened. (I probably stirred this a little too much. Clearly I need to read directions better. I should've mixed it a little less than I did and waited until the next step to mix it more. Oh well... live and learn. It seemed to turn out fine.)


Fold in chocolate chips until well incorporated.


Pour batter into the greased and floured pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 325, uncovered, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool more.


Yum!

Here's where I strayed from the original directions, based on the reviews: The original says to use a larger pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil, bake for 30 minutes, uncover, and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. Apparently people had trouble with the bread being burned on the outside and still too gooey and uncooked inside and suggested using different sized pans, cooking for a different amount of time, and not covering with foil. Several people mentioned using mini pans or baking at 350, and one review noted that baking in mini pans, with no foil, for 30-35 minutes worked well, so I decided to try that.

After 30 minutes, the middle was slightly gooey, so I left it in for an additional 5 minutes. The bread turned out slightly more brown on the outside, so I thought that next time, I might try cooking for 30 minutes at 350 instead. However, after a couple of days, we're so happy with the recipe that I'm not sure I would want to change anything at all!

Give it a try.... I'm sure you'll like it! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to run downstairs and have another piece of this delicious bread (which, by the way, works well for both dessert and breakfast).

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