I'll Never Write a Novel

The Memoir of a Personal Essayist OR Confessions of a Theatre Widow

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread

I posted a photo of this banana bread on Facebook, and it turns out people wanted the recipe. So, I guess that means I should write it down. In fact, I am starting to think I should be writing a lot of recipes down. 

I used to follow recipes religiously. I never thought of myself as a creative or smart enough baker or cook to tell people how to make something delicious. But, I sort of love the things I make, and maybe others will too. I write recipes rustically, as if they are being passed to you by word of mouth, almost. I read an interesting analysis recently saying that recipes are written much more complexly and overly described than they were a generation or two ago. It was assumed that you learned to cook and bake in the shadow of a mom, a grandma, or a mentor. Now people buy beautiful cookbooks but have never cooked side by side with someone who has been standing in front of a stove for a few decades. So, now instead of a dash of this and stir till just blended you get 1 scooped and leveled off Cup plus a Tablespoon of something, or remove from oven with mitts and cool before eating. Thanks for letting me know. So much burning if I hadn't gotten a heads up.

I was lucky to bake by my mom's side. I don't remember studying recipes with her but I absolutely remember how she measured shortening in a Pyrex measuring cup, balancing water against the volume of Crisco being added. I know her shortbread had brown sugar despite the fact that no written recipe exists anywhere in her things left behind. I studied and tried recipes till I figured it out. But I knew where to start. She taught me all the important things, and that statement isn't limited to baking.

And my start for this recipe has family ties, too. My sister Aileen shared this recipe with me. I doctored it a bit and here you have it, in my version. She's a great pal to bake side by side with. More gifts my my mom gave me.

Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread

3-4 overripe bananas
1 & 1/2 C. Flour (you can do 1/2 whole wheat for a slightly heartier texture)
½ C Brown Sugar (you can use less if you don't want it too sweet)
¼ C Granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
dash of salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
Handful of chocolate chips of your choosing

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

2. Mash bananas in a large bowl.  Add flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and egg.

3.  Melt butter in microwave, add to the bowl, and stir until just blended.

4. Melt a handful of chocolate chips in the microwave or over double boiler.

5.  Pour half of batter into greased loaf pan. Put ¾ of melted chocolate on top of batter. Swirl with knife or toothpick. Pour remaining batter on top. Put last of melted chocolate on top. Swirl with knife or toothpick. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

This recipe is great for variations. I often add a half teaspoon of cinnamon, good cocoa powder, etc. One variation I hear is great is to omit the chocolate and sub in blueberries and lemon juice. It also bakes well in a 9 x 9 pan and cut into squares. Enjoy!