But… banana bread is a cake? Yes, actually. But why call it banana bread at all? Its earliest documentation traces its history to the Caribbean. But Caribbean banana bread is nothing like American banana bread. Historians say that its appearance in American kitchens coincides with the introduction of baking powder and baking soda to the market. But, over time, recipes evolved, the batter became more cake than quick bread but the name “banana bread” was retained.
In this recipe, nuts and chocolate chips are added to the basic batter. We’re partial to dark chocolate but milk chocolate chips are okay too although you’ll get a sweeter banana bread if you use milk chocolate chips.
Alex (who baked the banana bread) normally adds pecan but we were out of pecan the night she baked these so cashew nuts were substituted. Walnuts work too.
It starts with overripe bananas that are mashed before melted butter is poured in and whisked.
Brown and white sugars are added. This combination gives the banana bread a good color. Too much brown sugar and the banana bread gets too dark during baking. Too much white sugar gives it a pale appearance.
Eggis stirred in before the mixture of flour, baking powder and salt is added. Salt? Yes, salt. A bit of salt is always a good idea when making sweets as it creates contrast. Without it, the sweet tastes too one-dimensional.
The nuts and chocolate are folded in last. Remember to roast and cool to the nuts ahead of time. They’re more flavorful and aromatic after roasting.
And that’s the before and after baking looks of the banana bread. Still too crumbly while hot, we prefer to cool and chill before slicing. But because banana bread is best served warm, we reheat each slice in the microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds, depending on the thickness of the slice, before serving.
Banana bread with chocolate chips and nuts
- Loaf pans
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour - sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups mashed overripe bananas
- 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- ½ cup dark brown sugar - loosely packed
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup chocolate chips - dark is best; milk chocolate is okay too
- ½ cup roughly chopped roasted unsalted cashew nuts - or you preferred nuts
- halved roasted unsalted cashew nuts - for the topping
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Grease (and, optionally, line) three 8" x 4" loaf pans.
- In a bowl, add the baking powder and salt to the sifted flour, and whisk to combine.
- Pour the melted butter over the mashed bananas and stir to incorporate.
- Stir in the brown and white sugars.
- Whisk in the egg.
- Add the flour mixture and stir until blended.
- Fold in the chopped nuts and three-quarters cup of chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter evenly among the three loaf pans.
- Sprinkle the cashew halves and remaining chocolate chips on top.
- Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for ten to fifteen minutes then take out of the pans and transfer to a rack to cool.
- Slice and serve. Or wrap individually in cling film, chill until firm, slice and reheat the individual slices in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.