Here we are just past zucchini bread season and about to head right into pumpkin bread season. Loaf pan fans rejoice in the abundance! We will have cake and call it bread. We will slice and slather and eat it without a plate! We will munch it for breakfast and snack on it while driving! For the in-between seasons — or any time — I give to you my favorite banana bread. This recipe caught my eye in a low-sugar baking cookbook, and I've since hacked at it and tweaked and made it my own. I like the balance of the moistness and the crumb. It's not heavy but it holds together well.
If you find yourself staring down a pile of bananas, waiting for them to blacken, consider using this tip. When you buy bananas to eat, buy extra and intentionally leave them to darken and soften. When mushy and more than a bit dubious, peel them and then store them in an old yogurt container in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge on the day you want to use them.
Chocolate Walnut Banana Bread
1 loaf, recipe doubles easily
3-4 very soft bananas
6 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or chocolate chips that have been coarsely chopped)
Cinnamon sugar, optional for the top
1. Turn the oven to 350F and, as it preheats, set your walnuts in to toast on a baking sheet. They are done when they begin to smell like walnuts and are a little brown. Pour on a plate to cool.
2. Prepare a small 9x5 bread pan by greasing and dusting with flour or lining with two crossed parchment strips.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the bananas, yogurt and vanilla until almost smooth. (You'll still have a few banana lumps.) Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, with a whisk attachment on a mixer or your arm muscles, whisk the eggs and sugar until frothy. Drizzle in the oil slowly and whisk around a couple of times, being careful not to deflate the mixture too much.
5. Fold the yogurt mixture gently into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula.
6. Sprinkle the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, walnuts and chocolate over the top and then gently fold again just until you see no more bare flour.
7. Pour into the prepared pan. Dust the top with a little cinnamon sugar.
8. Bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes.
Anne Willhoit is an educator, community volunteer, and enthusiastic baker who likes to create recipes that use from-scratch techniques and are inspired by local, seasonal ingredients. Find her on Instagram at @aawillhoit or drop her an inquiry at FromScratchKS@gmail.com.
This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: No excuses needed for bread that's cake