We are experts at wasting bananas. I blame it on the Redhead. She always says she wants one, takes one or two bites, and then plays with the peel and leaves the rest. She sometimes takes a bite out of the SIDE of the entire banana, then is done. I usually cut up the bananas beforehand, but I feel like I’m always a bit of a chump when she asks me for “a big one!” and I give her a whole banana and the situation mentioned above happens every single time. So, I very often turn left-over bananas into smoothies with a bit of plain yogurt, but by the time I’ve been played twice, I give up offering her bananas, and at least three turn brown before the week is over.
Enter banana bread. This recipe called for exactly three, old, brown bananas! I wanted to use up our produce and stuff in the fridge before we left town for Christmas travels because I hate wasting food, and banana bread helped use up those old bananas, my yogurt that was about to go bad, a couple eggs and some milk. We enjoyed this bread going down the road to Tulsa for snacks and breakfast and it was one of the best banana bread recipes I’ve used. Obviously, as it came from Cooks Illustrated’s awesome cookbook, The New Best Recipe. I always feel safe using their recipes. They had a variation for adding chocolate to their banana bread, and as you may have seen on this blog, I won’t pass up an opportunity to use chocolate in a baked good.
Banana Chocolate Bread
makes one 9″ loaf
2 cups (10 ounces) AP flour, plus more for dusting the pan
10 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped very fine
3 very ripe, large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5″ loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and chocolate together in a large bowl; set aside.
Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a whisk in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about an hour. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temp for up to 3 days.