Did the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, ever suggest making and bringing them warm banana bread? No? Big mistake. There has been many an occasion over here in which my tried and true chocolate chip banana bread has helped smooth ruffled feathers, sweeten the crabbiest of teachers or carry through the sincerity of an apology. I just don’t think you can beat the sentiments of a warm, chocolatey, tender and sweet loaf of banana bread. If you are currently at odds with a spouse, a child or a crazy ill-mannered teenager who has taken up residence at your house, you must make this banana bread and deliver it immediately. You will be amazed at its effects.
A loaf of banana bread is like a great big, warm and cuddly hug from a toddler or a sloppy kiss from your dog. It doesn’t have anything to do with show-offy-ness that fancy cupcakes or other uptight gorgeous goodies can exude. It has the “I’m trustworthy,” edge and the “You can count on me in a pinch,” mentality.
This one’s not dolled up or made healthier with flax seeds or wheat flour. It’s not trendy or beautiful. Not this homey, sturdy and sweet full crumbed loaf of banana bread. It’s the foodie equivalent of a big comfy couch that’s perfect to curl up on.
What better use of over-ripe bananas can there be? Seeing sad, unused almost black bananas and giving them the perfect happy home in my banana bread makes me happy inside as well. Then I share them with my kids and husband, and the whole family sits around together with smug satisfied grins, and I feel that for once I am the perfect mom, even if just for that moment.
That’s the thought in my head as my daughter rhythmically mashes our bananas, while adding the dash of cinnamon as the lovely aroma hits my nervous system making me feel calm and centered. It’s my Yoga or Zen moment, and that is what I try to give my friends and family every time when I bake. That is what I am trying to share with my daughter as we do this together. Without words I am trying to tell her to find what ever it is that gives her serenity and helps her live in the moment.
Banana bread is the ultimate rock star of baking if you ask me. It is real. It is true, and you can count on it to come out perfectly each and every time. It garners admiration, satisfaction and joy. It comes together into a wonderful sticky mess. That’s kind of how I like my life and my baking. Life is sticky, but if you can make it sweet and share that with those you love, that is the ultimate satisfaction and a bit of a challenge.
Baking banana bread reminds me that most times the outcome is much better than the raw ingredients you have put into something. As I am typing this blog which absolutely no one is reading but me, my fifteen-year-old son says to me, “This is awesome! Did you really make it out of those black bananas on our counter?” If you have a teenager, you know that compliments are hard to come by. As parents, especially moms…we seem to bear the brunt of our kids’ emotions (at least at my house), and it just feels so good and warm to be appreciated. Maybe the banana bread was baked for me this time. I hadn’t thought about that until this moment. Hm…
SweetAndCrumby Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 very ripe mashed bananas
1/2 c. chocolate chips (I use more, but I am a chocoholic)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray coat a glass loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. If you are using a metal pan, turn down your oven to 325. I make things easy. I don’t like to cause any more dishes to sacrifice themselves in my kitchen than necessary so just put the dry ingredients in a bix mixing bowl and stir them with a wire whisk. This eliminates any need for sifting.
Pour your milk and oil into one large-ish liquid measuring cup. Crack your egg in the milk and oil and gently whisk all three ingredients. Dump in your sugar to the liquid measuring cup and stir with a rubber spatula. Mash your bananas right in there if you have room or mash them in a separate bowl if you need to. Combine the bananas with the liquid ingredients and once combined pour them into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.
Gently stir your batter with the spatula until everything is well incoporated and add the chocolate chips at the end. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake on the middle shelf of your oven for 50-60 minutes…until a toothpick comes out clean. It should be golden brown, firm to the touch. Let it cool on a stove burner or wire rack for one hour (at our house it’s ten minutes tops). Gently remove the bread and slice or wrap up in parchment paper and present it to the person you need to make-up with.