Spiced Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Bananas. Weird fruit with the consistency of wet chalk. Blech.

Bananas only have two purposes: baby food, and banana bread. Little Man likes bananas, which is nice for me since they are a quick and easy snack. And once Little Lady is ready to start real food, I’ll be mashing up some bananas for her quite often (easiest baby food ever). But other than that, the only reason I ever buy bananas is to make banana bread. Because as much as bananas by themselves kinda gross me out, if I bake them into a sweet quick bread and they become one of my favorite foods.

Honestly, I was kinda skeptical about this recipe at first. So many flavors together: chocolate, gingerbread, banana, it just seemed like too much. But I had two bananas on the counter and they were at the “use or lose” stage of ripeness, so I figured I’d just go ahead and try the recipe.  I made a few slight modifications to the original recipe from How Sweet It Is, and overall this bread was really good. It far exceeded my expectations and is definitely on my make-again list. It didn’t really taste like gingerbread to me (maybe because of how I changed the spices), instead the spices were a nice balance to the sweetness of the bananas and chocolate chips. I think with the spice combination I wouldn’t make this recipe in the spring or summer, but for autumn and winter this is a great banana bread recipe. Plus, the loaf gets a nice crisp cinnamon-sugar crust from the way I prep the pan (a trick I learned from my college roommate).

When I was pouring the batter into the loaf pan, it seemed like too much and I didn’t want to clean banana-bread-spillover off my over floor so I filled the loaf pan 3/4 full and used the rest to make muffins.  Good decision. The loaf turned out perfectly and I ended up with 5 bonus muffins. Win-win.

Moral of the story? Bananas on their own: not yummy. Bananas in this bread: very yummy. I hope you make this bread and enjoy a nice autumn-spice twist on the traditional banana bread.

Spiced Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

(Adapted from How Sweet It Is)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup molasses
2 large bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 cup buttermilk*
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Butter and Cinnamon-Sugar for greasing pan**

*In full disclosure, I didn’t have buttermilk, so I used 1 tbs distilled white vinegar mixed with heavy cream and skim milk to make 1 cup

**I always have cinnamon sugar on hand, I make it with 1/4 cup sugar and 1-2 tsp cinnamon. You can use more cinnamon if you prefer.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with butter (I use a pat of butter nested into a paper towel), and dust with cinnamon sugar. You may also want to grease and sugar a muffin tin or line with paper liners (you’ll probably only get half a dozen muffins with the excess batter). In a bowl, combine the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.  Add in the egg and vanilla and mix on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add in molasses and bananas and mix to combine. Mix in half the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips with the mixer on low speed.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, filling no more than 3/4 full.  Use remaining batter to fill prepared muffin cups. Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes our clean. Bake loaf for 45-55 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

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