recipe – dark chocolate chip banana bread & mini muffins

recipe – dark chocolate chip banana bread & mini muffins

I’m a green banana person.  I know, I know… “Gross!” most people are thinking.   Whatever.  You can have your boring old yellow bananas and I will savor the starchy-crisp-green-grassness of my underage banana babies.

On the other hand, I get REALLY – I mean truly, unnaturally – excited when my bananas mature past their adult stage and start to develop brown age spots  (btw, wouldn’t it be strange if bananas applied Retinol and stood in front of lasers so they could turn back to yellow?   Just sayin’…)

But I’m not the only one excited by the signs of aging bananas.  Everyone at Casa Resnick knows that old bananas = a hot slice of banana bread at the breakfast table very soon.

Baking banana bread is also the perfect excuse to use my grandmother Lollie’s vintage mini loaf pan from the 1950’s.  Seriously, how cute is this thing?

My mom saved it and gave it to me a few years ago when I started cooking obsessively regularly.  It’s essentially four small pans connected together, so you can easily bake multiple mini loaves at once.  I love to do slight variations… one might have chopped walnuts, the next some cinnamon & nutmeg, and the last one a double-helping of dark chocolate chips (that one always seems to disappear first).   We usually make a few small loaves for slicing and a big handful of mini muffins, the perfect size for school lunches.

I have this super easy banana bread recipe that’s basically foolproof (unless you’re the type of fool who forgets to stir in baking soda or eggs).  It’s also a little decadent, because come on, let’s not try to pretend that banana bread is healthy (for the record, carrot cake is not healthy either).   You can whip it together and pop it in the oven in under 5 minutes… and your kitchen will smell downright delicious because of it.

The one super-important ingredient for this recipe – over-ripe bananas.   There’s a big difference in taste when they’re at that perfect stage of ripeness.    Too young and the bread won’t have that rich caramel-y banana flavor.  Too old and the texture gets too runny and weird.  Just right and and it tastes… well… just right.

So how do you know if your bananas are ready?  You could try to calculate the brown spot to yellow skin ratio, but it’s sometimes hard to tell.  Here’s how I do it:  try to pick up the bananas by the top of the stem.  If the stem falls off (like in the above picture), they’re ready.  If not, give them another day or so (if you’re really impatient, you can put ‘em in a paper bag and they’ll ripen more quickly).

Got your bananas?  Good, you’re ready to go…

Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Bread & Mini-Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 medium bananas, very ripe
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For bread loaves:  spray your baking vessel with flour baking spray, such as Baker’s Joy (if you don’t have this, you can butter the vessel then lightly dust with flour).

For cupcakes: place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan (no spray needed).

Mash the bananas using a pastry cutter or potato masher.  Add the sugar, flour, eggs, baking soda and salt and stir with a wooden spoon to combine (don’t overmix, just stir until the flour is incorporated).  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into your baking vessel  - fill it about 2/3 of the way full.

Bake until the tops are nicely browned and the centers are cooked through.  A wooden tester inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean, with no cake stuck to it (if you happen to strike a chocolate chip… and you will… try a different part of the loaf).

You’ll know it’s close to  being ready because your kitchen will start to smell crazy delicious.   Here are the approximate baking times:

  • For large bread loaves:  bake approx. 45-55 minutes
  • For small bread loaves:  25-30 minutes
  • For regular size cupcakes: 18-22 minutes
  • For mini cupcakes: 12-15 minutes

If you have some extra batter after pouring the bread loaf, make a handful of mini-muffins.  Poppable and delish!

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