Saturday, December 5, 2015

It's About to Get Nutty

As soon as Halloween ended this year, LA's KOST 103.5 started early on their glorious 2 month stint of Christmas songs on the radio--something I look forward to every year. Prancing around the hospital with Christmas jingles in my head gives me a major itch for holiday baking. To me, turning on the oven is like a cozy blanket filling the house with warm aromas of baked goods and sprinkling a bit of holiday cheer on everybody. While russian tea cakes are one of the classic Christmas go-to cookies I make, banana nut bread probably ties for first in the baked goods category. My aunt, without fail, will ask me for this recipe in addition to her own loaf every single year at our family Christmas gathering (I have no idea what she does with the recipe). Fluffy yet moist, and loaded with chocolate chips and walnuts galore, this banana bread is definitely a family favorite.  Now the only thing left is to decorate the house!

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 1 loaf

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3 ripe bananas (mashed)
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Cream together room temperature butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until combined. Add mashed bananas and mix until combined. (Mixture will look a little curdled)
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda
4. Add dry flour mixture to banana mixture and stir until thoroughly even.
5. Add chocolate chips and walnuts and stir just enough to incorporate. 
6. Lightly grease a 9x5in standard sized loaf pan. Pour batter evenly into the loaf pan (use a spatula to even out batter if needed). 
7. Bake for 45-60 minutes (depends on oven type) until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Tip on how to get bananas to ripen faster: 
Place them in a plastic bag and tie the top to air seal it. Place it in another plastic or brown paper bag. Leave it there for a few days (even better if you leave it in the sun) and voila! browned ripened bananas. The bananas emit ethylene gas which acts to ripen the banana. If sealed in a bag, the ethylene gas cannot escape, thereby ripening the bananas faster. Glad I paid attention during middle school science class :)