Sunday, March 31, 2013

ChezCindy: What to do with all those bananas?

Banana Bread with Mini Chocolate Chips and Ginger

My husband eats the same breakfast nearly every day; cereal, milk, sliced banana and a glass of orange juice.  It makes sense for him.  It's easy; there's no thinking involved.  Definitely no cooking.  It's healthy.  So why not?  I could no sooner eat the same breakfast everyday than I could fly to the moon.  None the less, we often end up with over-ripe bananas that don't make the cut for his breakfast.  I hate throwing them away.  So I am generally on the prowl for new recipes using bananas.  Fortunately, there are many.  Banana cake, breakfast muffins, breads, banana cream pie. The New Orleans favorite, Bananas Foster.  Banana split ice cream Sundaes, yogurt banana smoothies.  The list does go on.  Although, I have never ventured into using bananas for savory.

This banana bread recipe has become my favorite.  Not quite traditional in that I use mini chocolate chips and crystallized ginger.  It is based on a recipe from author Molly Wizenberg, in her book A Homemade Life.  The ingredients come together quickly and the bread stores well in the freezer for several months.

 If you have not baked with crystallized ginger, I encourage you to try it.  Crystallized ginger is fresh ginger that has been slowly cooked in sugar water, and then rolled in coarse sugar to preserve it.  It has the texture of a gummy candy and is sugary-spicy to taste.  It is really great when baking ginger snap cookies, gingerbread cakes and breads.  You can buy this at the regular grocery store, located where they sell dried fruits. 

Banana Bread with Mini Chocolate Chips and Ginger
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Gently whisk to combine.  Add the chocolate chips and the chopped ginger; stir to coat the chips and ginger. 
In a medium mixing bowl, mash the bananas.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing with a fork to combine with the bananas.  Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and melted butter.  Stir well to combine.  Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture, using a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bring the batter together.  Prepare a 9x5 inch loaf pan by spraying it with cooking spray oil.  Transfer the batter to the loaf pan; smoothing out the top. 
Bake for 60-65 minutes until the top of the loaf is golden brown, and the center is set.  Allow to cool in the loaf pan for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan, and cool completely on a baking rack. 

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