Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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Hello loyal readers! This is Irene's little sis, dropping by for a guest post. As you can imagine, having an incredibly talented sister who forces you to taste-test her mouth-watering creations is a tough job, but someone's gotta do it, right? In all honesty, I have always been amazed by my sister's ability to juggle being not only a lawyer, wife, sister and daughter but also history buff, chef and artist. She continues to inspire me to test my own limits, which of course extends into my most recent venture into the world of cooking! [Ed. note: in the interests of modesty, I wanted to take this part out, but... vanity prevailed :)]

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Ok, enough gushing about Irene. Let's talk about what really matters: me...oh wait, I mean...food. As a future doctor and an avid runner, I am very passionate about health, but I also love yummy food. It turns out the two actually go hand in hand! A few weeks ago, I developed an all-consuming, wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night craving for banana bread, but resisted baking any because a) I was too lazy and b) I was a little worried about my restraint around a batch of freshly baked banana bread (I'm not a saint here people!). Enter my sister! After I confessed my unrelenting craving to Irene over the phone, she immediately invited me over to her house for a baking session, with a twist. Knowing me as well as she does, she suggested that we "healthify" our banana bread by modifying a recipe she found online.

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And that is how our delectable, indulgent, guilt-free banana bread recipe was born! While my first impulse was to replace all of the tasty (aka unhealthy) ingredients with their healthier counterparts, my sister gently urged me to consider substituting only half of each ingredient. Having learned through many past experiences that the advice of my older, wiser sister will never steer me wrong, I quickly obliged and followed along with her suggestion. Best.Decision.Ever. If any baked good could solve our economic crisis or fix the health care system, it would be this banana bread. Ok, a little dramatic? Let's just say thoughts of banana bread are no longer waking me up in the middle of the night, but instead are gently lulling me to sleep and keeping me safe and warm at night. Still too dramatic? It's THAT good! I'll let my sister take over with the details because, let's face it, I mainly sat around eating chocolate chips and gossiping as she did the measuring, mixing and cleaning. [Ed. note: hehehe, I so totally made her do the dishes.]

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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
adapted from http://gourmeted.com/2009/02/21/thesss-nanas-banana-bread/

As you can imagine, the original version of this bread is pretty darn good. Believe it or not, our alterations (less butter, less sugar, whole wheat flour, buttermilk instead of cream) didn't change the taste one little bit, except to make the texture even softer. How can something with so little butter taste so awesome? I have no idea, but it did. We were really good about making the substitutions, too... until, that is, we threw in the giant chocolate chips. :)

2.5 tbsp (34 g) butter
34g unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup granulated sugar (or Splenda for baking)
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup large bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

With a hand mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl with the apple sauce until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat well to incorporate. Add the egg, egg whites and vanilla and beat to blend.

Mash the bananas really well and add, beating for 30 seconds on high speed to blend.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl an add to the banana mixture, alternating with the buttermilk (add half of the dry ingredients, beat just to blend, add buttermilk, beat just to blend, add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat just to blend). Do not overmix. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until browned on top and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hr and 15 minutes (ours baked slightly longer than that, but start checking at the hour mark).

Cool completely and serve (the banana bread will be too soft to cut into when hot). The original recipe recommends that you give this bread a rest overnight, but I can't tell you if that's a good idea or not - our loaf didn't make it that far.

26 comments:

Y said...

What a fun post, and a great looking banana bread. A big hello to Irene's little sis! :D

♥peachkins♥ said...

the bread looks amazing as was the last photo!

Ash said...

This has got to be the best looking banana bread!! so chocolatly!!

El said...

How scrumptious. would love some right now!

Julia said...

That banana bread looks and sounds delicious! I have future plans for a chocolate challah, so if you happen to know of any great recipes that I haven't yet discovered, I'd love it if you could share :)

Rambling Tart said...

Oh my mercy - what bliss these photos bring to me today! :-)

Irene said...

Julia, I've been meaning to make challah with the recipe for sweet yeast dough (a few posts below). For chocolate challah, I bet you could just sub out 1/3 cup of flour for 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Let me know if it works out or if you find a great recipe!

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Just the thought of that bread made my mouth water! Yum! Chocolate makes everything better!

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

So wonderful texture and good looking bread!
Ideal with cup of tea :)

Cheers!

Gera

Gigi said...

Great post E! Can't wait to try this!

Elra said...

Hello Irene's little sister, wow you are incredibly talented as well. Just like your sister. Your bread look amazingly good.

Patsyk said...

Looks like a perfect way to satisfy the craving! And, no guilt afterward!

bed frame said...

I was surprised on your bread! It is so beautiful! Whenever I make my version of chocolate chip banana bread it does not look like as yours. I wonder why.

Ellie said...

Hi everyone! Little sis here. Thanks for the welcome! I'm glad you all enjoyed the banana bread and I promise, you'll like me ever more once you try it. I hope to be back again soon with another fun, healthy recipe!

onesilentwinter said...

a favorite around here, we will try this recipe this weekend! thank you!

Shari said...

I know someone who just loves chocolate chips in banana bread! This recipe looks particularly good!

Junglefrog said...

I wish my sister could cook... :) (the chances of her reading this are very very slim, so I can say that here now can't I?)
That banana bread just looks fabulous and with the added health benefits I will just have to try this for myself!

Fiona said...

I made it today, and I think whole-wheat flour interferes with the delicate taste of bananas and buttermilk (an otherwise brilliant combination, topped only but an unhealthy but delicious sour cream and bananas combo!). I will try to make it with all white flour next time. However, in the spirit of cutting down the calories ever more, I substituted butter with 2 TBS of canola oil. It worked pretty well too, the texture was less fluffy, but the batter did not collapse, it raised nicely, and the crust was just the right consistency. Fiona

Irene said...

We were thinking of oil too, but butter... mmmm.... so good... Glad to know it worked with oil too!

And I agree that the whole wheat flour substitution interferes with the taste of bananas (but I also liked the negative guilt points, so the wh.wh. flour stayed :) ).

Fiona said...

Irene, I read your comment re: chocolate challah. I don't think that you can substitute cocoa for flower because cocoa has a different alkaline and (vegetable) butter content than flour. But these are just my thoughts, I might be wrong :)

Fiona said...

Shoot, it's so late at night that I start misspelling words! I mean, flour not flower. Duh!

Irene said...

Agreed re alkaline properties, however I've seen a few recipes that have done this, so I think it's possible and would be worth an experiment. I am now intrigued as I've never actually had chocolate yeast bread, so I will report back when I try this!

Jillian said...

The minute I saw the photos I knew I had to try it. I'm not an avid baker so I fumbled through the recipe but you made it seem so easy and luckily everything turned out perfectly! I had to substitute a mixture of baking soda + buttermilk because I didn't have baking powder. I love that you made a healthier version. My friends are devouring it! thanks :)

petrenkov said...

Rather nice site you've got here. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Best regards
Jeph Normic

wichey said...

I love this healthy banana choc. chip and my boyfriend loved it too.
How many calories are in one slice.

Thanks, Erin

Irene said...

Hi Erin, sorry, I don't remember how many calories are in a slice. It also depends on how thinly you slice the bread.