Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread

I've been hearing a lot on the news lately about creative money conservation in our economic downturn (how about nosedive!). People aren't shopping as much anymore, either out of not having as much disposable income or out of fear of not having it in the future. Today I even saw a story on a news program of friends trading furniture and food, instead of buying new. Lack of money is definitely the "mother of invention". I mean, this is war. Our throwaway society is turning inward to discover new ways to save the greenbacks. Finally, waste and excess just aren't cool. Yesterday I bought a container of soon to be overripe tomatoes, at my local upscale fruit and veg store. They are very fussy about what they sell. I felt like a bandit as I paid $1.99 for some really good looking tomatoes that were in the sunset of their life. I brought them home, ate a few of the best and chop, chop, bada, bada, boom, the rest were sauce. Everything has its place. Last week I was staring at some bananas on my counter that were getting a little bit past prime for eating, but great for baking. I didn't have the time or inclination to make banana bread at the time, so I popped them in the freezer for later. Later came today. I took those black beauties out of the freezer and I made Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread. The whole house was scented with that "nothin' says home like fresh baked" aroma. Yum. I have tweaked this recipe over the years to become truly my own as I've added chocolate chips, nuts and a touch of cinnamon to the basic recipe. As my son said when he was young, "Mom, EVERYTHING tastes better with chocolate!". What an old soul.

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
4 small/medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugars with the butter. Mix well.
Add the eggs and bananas and blend thoroughly.
Combine the milk and lemon juice or vinegar, which will curdle a bit. Slowly and alternatively add the flour mixture and milk mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend well after each addition. With a spatula, fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and put in preheated 350 degree oven.
Bake for one hour or until loaf springs back up when touched in the center and a knife comes out clean when inserted. If it starts to brown too quickly, lightly tent with aluminum foil.

Written and photographed by Diane

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