Saturday, February 6, 2010
Chocolate Ginger Banana Bread
Have you ever seen that Simpsons episode where Homer goes looking for his soul mate? He realizes that it was Marge all along when he walks off for a couple days and she finds him at a lighthouse down by the water. He asks her how she found him and she says, “Well, I was sure you'd be on foot, because you always say public transportation is for losers. And I was sure you'd head west, because Springfield slopes down that way. And then, I saw the lighthouse, and I remembered how you love blinking lights. Like the one on the waffle iron.”
Well this Christmas Ian bought me a camera, and we had one of those little moments. I asked him how he picked out such a great gift and he said, “Well, I brought a Christmas ornament to a camera store and took pictures of it with every camera I could test so that you would get a camera without flashback, and I know how frustrated you get with lots of buttons, so I picked out the simplest one, and I knew that you would scratch the screen so I ruled out the touch screen camera, finally, I know how much you like fuzzy backgrounds, so I looked for a camera with a good range of F stops, and this is what I came up with!” Yes, he is my soul mate. Mine mine mine, get your own!
So, as my roommate threatened daily to throw out my frozen brown bananas from the freezer, I decided to finally make this wonderful banana bread that I read about in Molly Wizenberg’s book, “A homemade life”. I love this book and the romantic approach that she has to cooking and baking; each recipe has a wonderful story about the impact it had on her life. Since Ian wasn’t around I thought it would be a great chance for me to use my new camera and put to use all the little techniques he has told me about over the past year of food photography. Now by no means are my photos anywhere near the quality of his, but I’m really enjoying taking some of my own photos, and not having to fuss with a million buttons! Oh, and this banana bread is so good, I will never try another recipe...ever!
Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
Adapted from “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or a chopped up bar)
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup well-stirred whole-milk plain yogurt (not low or nonfat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Set a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Grease a 9 by 5 loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
In a small bowl, microwave the butter until just melted. (Be careful and do this over medium power in short burst because it can explode or splatter and that is a big mess.) Or melt it in the preheating oven. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla and stir to mix well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter with be thick and somewhat lumpy, just make sure all the flour has been incorporated. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top.
Bake into the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 mins to an hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with foil.
Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 mins. Then tip out onto the rack, and let it cool completely before slicing (if you can wait that long).
The loaf freezes well wrapped in plastic wrap and again in foil to protect from freezer burn. Try it cold, sliced fresh out of the freezer with a glass of milk or a cup of tea. Divine.