Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Bread

I had lots of peeled ripe frozen bananas that needed to be used up this week, and also needed a good "transportable" treat to take to a family battling a week of illness. (There's nothing like chocolate, nuts and bananas to cure anything that ails you, says this Dr. Mom.)

Happened upon a recipe from Bon Appetit magazine with over 200 rave reviews. I now know why. It's a wonderful just-right banana bread recipe with or without the chocolate chips. I made a few tweaks to the original Bon Appetit recipe to allow for more bananas, cutting some sugar, adding a bit more flour. I think this makes for a more moist bread. I doubled the recipe below and it made 3 plenty generous loaves of bread. N

Tip: If I am in a hurry, I will often bake banana bread in 2 square Pyrex pans.... this speeds up cooking time, makes smaller slices and cooks evenly in a shorter time. (The reason for "layering" the batter with the flour coated chocolate-nut mixture is that if you don't, the chocolate chips tend to all sink to the bottom. This helps keep the chips and nuts equally distributed.)

1 1/2 cups plus 2 T. all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter and flour 9x5x2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Combine chocolate chips and walnuts in small bowl; add 1 tablespoon flour mixture and toss to coat.

Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture. Spoon 1/3 of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of nut mixture. Spoon 1/3 of batter over. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture. Cover with remaining batter. Run knife through batter in zigzag pattern.

Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool.

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