Some recipes claim you. You make them once, you fall in love with them (“how did I create such a thing of beauty?!” may just cross your mind), and in that instant, the recipe becomes yours. It’s what you’re known for; the dish people ask you to make and bring to their place for potlucks, parties — or just because it’s Tuesday. And you don’t mind, because you’re dang proud of that recipe, even if you didn’t create it yourself.
That’s how I feel about this Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. The chips are gooey, the cake has a golden brown, crunch of a crust, and the banana flavor is gentle; it doesn’t overwhelm every bite. (I love it so much that I confess I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to grab water and wound up eating a slice. I got so excited I started eating it before I could even take pictures of it. It’s borderline problematic.)
What’s YOUR recipe? Maybe this one’s the one for you, too. Don’t worry; I’ll share. After all, I did borrow it from Hershey’s.
A couple things to note to ensure Choco Banana Bread Nirvana:
- Let the bananas get nice and brown before using them. Like fully speckled, who-would-eat-this brown. Bananas at this stage are the sweetest (and bonus: easiest to mash!), so you get the subtle banana flavor without that ripe, punch-to-the-tastebuds tangy-ness that makes most people hate banana-flavored anything. Basically, this is the key to creating a dessert that wins over banana haters everywhere.
- Use 1 cup of bananas, even if that means using a part of a banana. It’s tempting to want to throw the whole banana in, but that can throw off the batter’s consistency, and tends to be the biggest culprit behind Banana Bread Fails: crisp edges, gooey center that won’t seem to cook.
- Take the toothpick test to the edge and center of the bread. Some ovens will crisp the edges faster than the center, and you don’t want a pure goo center (as tempting as it is to eat like dough!). No toothpick? Use a butter knife. There’s no judgment here.
- If your oven tends to cook erratically (say, one time it burns cookies, the next time they’re half-dough when the timer goes off), try making these in a smaller loaf pan, or cooking them as muffins. The big loaf pan tends to be harder to cook evenly.
- You don’t need fancy equipment to mash bananas! Sure, you could use a blender, potato masher or food processor, but all you really need is the back of a spoon.
- 1 cup mashed banana (about 2-3 bananas)
- ½ cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease the bottom and sides of the baking pan (just dab a little shortening on a paper towel and rub down the inside of the pan).
- Blend all of the ingredients -- except the chocolate chips -- together in the mixing bowl to form the batter. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes if using a loaf pan (about 25-30 if using muffin tins), or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. (Crumbs are okay; gooey batter is not).