Although it’s not commonly taught, I think that everyone is familiar with Newton’s law of bananas. That law is: no matter how large or small a bunch of bananas you buy or the size of your family, there will always be two leftover bananas that become too overripe to eat. They sit in their basket, accusatorily, shrinking and slowly becoming covered in black spots. You look at them every morning guiltily. No one wants to put soft bananas in their breakfast cereal. Eventually, they pass a point of no return. Then it’s bin them or turn them into banana bread.
My recipe for banana bread is prosaic, but delicious. The bananas, cinnamon, and brown sugar turn the bread brownish, creating the illusion that it is health food. I always add chocolate chips and walnuts, which in my home means chocolate for breakfast. Whole wheat flour staves off self-reproach, should one be inclined to eat half a loaf of banana bread at one sitting, as I did last week. This bread is moist, dense, and not too sweet. If you want a lighter loaf, switch the proportions of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. If you really want to indulge yourself or endear yourself to your family/significant other/flatmate, use milk chocolate chips instead of dark, although then you might have a slightly more difficult time rationalizing banana bread for breakfast.
Leftover batter can be turned into muffins, or you can make all muffins if you prefer. Even though this bread takes less than an hour to make from start to finish, if you don’t feel quite up to making banana bread when your bananas have reached that critical point, you can mash them, put them in a Tupperware, and freeze them until you’re ready to use them. Ingredients:
1 cup (140 g) whole wheat flour
¾ cup (90 g) all-purpose or plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup (120 g) brown sugar
1/3 cup (65 g) white sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla paste, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Slightly less than ¼ pound (100 grams) melted butter
Slightly less than ¼ pound (100 grams) chocolate chips
2 ounces (56 grams) walnuts, chopped
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), and grease a loaf pan and lightly dust it with flour.
Sift together your flour with the baking powder, soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, mash your bananas together with the cinnamon and brown sugar with a fork. You can purée them if you prefer, but I like to use a fork because then you have lumps of banana scattered throughout your loaf.
Whisk together the two eggs with the white sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add the melted butter, whisking, and then combine with your banana mixture. Fold your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, trying not to over-mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts and bake for about 40 minutes (15-20 minutes if you’re making muffins), or until a wooden pick inserted into the loaf comes out dry. Allow to cool in the pan for about five minutes, and then (if you wish), turn out onto a rack. Feel free to enjoy while still warm and the chocolate is gooey.