Sunday, October 31, 2010

Banana Bread

Could anything be lovelier than the comforting scent of warm, soft banana bread wafting through the house on a crisp fall morning?  My love affair with banana bread is a recent one, as my mother, not being much of a breakfast pastry eater, rarely made it.  It fell into a broad category of her dislikes that I was deprived of during childhood, along with coconut, bread pudding, and nuts or dried fruit invading a baked good in any form.  "Why would you ever put in nuts when you could put in chocolate chips?" she would ask, without a hint of irony in her voice.  As I discovered when I was turned loose in my own kitchen, I am quite, even especially, fond of all these things and I have done my best to make up for lost time.

After trying several recipes for banana bread, I found that my own version is in fact my favorite.  It uses four bananas rather than the standard three, which keeps it wonderfully moist and sweet enough with less sugar.  You may use any milk alternative you like, but I think coconut makes the most natural partner for bananas.  And trust my mother on this one: gooey chocolate chips make a much more beguiling accent than walnuts.  Your morning coffee just found a new best friend.

*Ingredient note: You may have noticed that most of my baking recipes call for white whole wheat flour.  It is made from a lighter variety of wheat, so while its nutritional profile is the same as traditional whole wheat, its color and flavor are milder.  I can't resist adding it to recipes like this because it adds some nutrition without sacrificing flavor.  If unavailable, you can substitute regular whole wheat flour or all purpose flour.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 very ripe, darkly speckled bananas
1/4 cup regular coconut milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside.  Combine coconut milk and lemon juice in glass measuring cup and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine flour, white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  In another bowl, mash the bananas well with a wooden spoon, then stir in the coconut milk mixture, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla.  Mix until well combined (there should still be some small banana chunks).  Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until most of the flour is incorporated, then gently fold in the chocolate chips.  Do not over mix.

Pour into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of loaf comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Emilee,

    just found your blog, I like the recipes. this banana cake looks SO good. They don't seem to sell chocolate chips in Holland - would the recipe be as good without? looking forward to hearing from you, and downloading the book on my kindle! I have 2 boys as well, and sure you can give me lots of tips :) Caroline