Anyone who knows me remotely well, knows I have a thing for banana bread. (Jump to Recipe)
Which makes it all the more bizarre that it’s taken me this long to share a banana bread recipe with you. Seriously. I probably make it 2-3 times a month, because I always buy a ridiculously ambitious number of bananas at the beginning of the week. Inevitably, half of them are left mottling on the counter by Friday, and at that point (perhaps intentionally…) no one is going to eat them.
I know the ideal amount of banana ripening is a bit of a controversial subject, so let me just say at the outset that I respect whatever choice you make concerning how many brown spots you find acceptable. I myself prefer them completely devoid of spots, with very little give, but they cannot have any green on the tops. The second more than a couple spots appear, they’re too mushy for me and I can’t stomach them. In sum, I have approximately a 6-hour banana window. I’m so low maintenance.
I just want a solid surface to smear my peanut butter on, you know? Mushy banana + peanut butter spreading do not go well.
<–you can see how quickly the light was changing while I was making this. The sun and I are locked in a constant battle. It’s clearly winning.
Side note: the weather right now in Chicago is outrageous. For the past two days, I’ve been able to: 1. run outside by the lake in shorts and a t-shirt; 2. drink a smoothie without wanting to crawl under a blanket; 3. leave the windows open in our apartment; 4. crave a salad instead of bolognese. In February. In Chicago. Clearly, the world is ending.
Back to the bananas on the counter. For banana baked goods, you want them REALLY brown, because the browner they are, the sweeter they are. So wait until they have lots and lots of spots, like an unseemly amount of spots. Actually, they’re even better when they go completely brown. You might just want to keep them somewhere else if you have people coming over, so they don’t think you’ve got a sanitation situation.
So, I always have browning bananas around, and whether it’s summer in February or real summer in July, banana bread is a constant in our little apartment. Sometimes I mix it up and use the bananas for waffles or muffins or donuts (more on that soon), but more often than not, I stick with the classic. That does not mean, however, that I don’t
experiment constantly tinker with the classic. Brian would tell you that I can’t leave well enough alone and that banana bread is best in its purest and simplest form, but where’s the fun in that?
This chocolate chip banana bread is a little unusual in that it’s made with a relatively low amount of (brown) sugar, whole wheat flour, and Greek yogurt. The yogurt may seem like a weird addition, but the slight tang really allows the banana flavor to shine through. Don’t worry, it’s still sweet enough. In my mind, having whole wheat and yogurt in this bread means it’s a health food, so I can eat it for breakfast rather than dessert. My logic never fails.
The other great part about this recipe is it can be made in ONE BOWL, with a fork (my masher/whisk/stirrer of choice). Mash up your bananas, mix in some sugar and egg and oil and yogurt, add your dry ingredients, and voila. Banana bread is one of the easiest and most rewarding things to make!
I can’t get over those melty chocolate puddles. If you were considering being virtuous and skipping the chocolate chips, I hope you don’t. Life is too short to be without this.
The flavor from the brown sugar is deeper and more complex than plain old granulated sugar, and I think it adds such an interesting caramel-esque note to this banana bread. It’s warm and comforting no matter what time of year.
Time to toast up a couple slices, pour some coffee, and get out the peanut butter.
Maybe your chocolate chips will bake in unevenly like mine did. Don’t worry, they’ll make up for their imperfect looks when you eat them.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- 3 medium overripe bananas, mashed (to equal about 1 cup mashed banana)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (or canola oil)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt (I use whole or 2%)
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
- Mash bananas very well in a large bowl, using a fork or potato masher. Add the sugar and whisk to combine (I use the same fork). Add eggs, oil, and vanilla, and whisk thoroughly until fairly smooth and fully combined. Stir in yogurt.
- Next, mix in flour, salt, and baking soda - be careful not to overmix, just stir until everything is combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.
- Scrape batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Serve plain or toasted with peanut butter! Or topped with vanilla ice cream for dessert :). Bread will keep for up to 5 days, well-wrapped on the counter at room temperature.
The spread. Is there anything better than this? A morning like this makes me feel as though everything can be right with the world. I hope you feel it too!