Friday, 9 November 2012

Chocolate Chip and Walnut Banana Bread

Now, before I go on to the shoulda woulda coulda's of this recipe, I need to explain something first.

In this household I live in, we live by the philosophy of first-come-first-serve. It's like, a dog eat dog world. Whoever, gets to the yummy food any kind of food first, finishes it. You saved some of that chocolate you've been craving for later? Um, gone. How about those crisps you wanted for tomorrows snack? Yeah, right. Even that little bit of leftover salad you wanted to have as a healthy midnight snack? Ha.. Don't bother checking the fridge.

So, you have to understand that when I saw these bananas at the beginning of their ripening stage.. I just couldn't risk leaving them - or hiding them - to become deliciously ripe, and perfect for baked goods. I just had to use them while I had the chance.

That's my first shoulda. Shoulda waited for properly ripened bananas, because these just weren't as sweet as ripe bananas are meant to be.  I'd also change the flour I used. I used wholemeal flour specifically for bread (this isn't what the recipe called for, I was just trying to make the cake 'healthier'. ha.). I know its called banana bread, but I think I woulda preferred a little bit of a cake-y texture, and next time I'll stick to plain flour. I would have also upped the cinnamon and nutmeg, or maybe use freshly grated nutmeg. I'm not a fan of overly spiced desserts, but I think this coulda used a little more. Or maybe my blocked sinuses prevented me from tasting the spices. Either way, it couldn't hurt to add a bit more. And lastly, the recipe called for light brown sugar in the cake, and for it to be topped with dark brown sugar. I didn't have any dark brown sugar so I topped it with light brown sugar, which didn't really work as it just stayed there and didn't blend in and contribute to a crusty top. Next time, I'd use dark brown sugar both on top of the cake and in the cake (because I really like the flavour of dark brown sugar).

Um, so according to my shoulda woulda coulda's, looks like I'd change a lot. Don't get me wrong, everyone really liked it. My dad even had 2 slices. But I think with changes above, it would be my go-to chocolate chip and walnut banana bread. Try it and let me know, and as soon as I get to try and make it with the changes in mind, I'll update the recipe. Until then - here it is, and you can change it according to my suggestions. (or not. It's your life.)

----- UPDATE -----
(like an hour later): I just went down and had some for breakfast, and used it like real bread - as in toasted in the toaster and and smeared with butter. And I was very happy. I even tried different variations, a little cream cheese, and butter and honey. All my concerns are gone - I liked the bread-y texture, the spices really show up more then next day (and toasted), and even my not-the-ripest bananas worked well. So, next time if I plan on serving it warm out of the oven, I'd probably use the changes above. If I plan to use it like bread then I'll leave it as it is for a sweet breakfast.

Chocolate Chip and Walnut Banana Bread

(makes a 10 x 4 (or 9 x 5) inch loaf)

260 grams (2 cups) wholemeal flour
135 grams (packed 3/4 cup) light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (the recipe called for mace - didn't have any of that so I used nutmeg, seeing as they're similar)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
100 grams (1 cup) walnuts, chopped (the original recipe used pecan, and toasted them before chopping. I skipped this, but toast away if you like)
100 grams dark chocolate chips
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup sour cream (I used yogurt)
2 eggs
85 grams (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Lightly grease a 10 x 4 inch or 9 x 5 inch loaf tin and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, walnuts, and chocolate chips, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, sour cream/yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla extract with a wooden spoon. Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle dark brown sugar on the loaf and bake for 45 to 55 minutes (mine was done at around 50 minutes), or until the loaf is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread in the loaf tin for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wrapped in parchment, the bread will keep at room temperature for 3 days (not that it ever stays that long here).

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