Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rainy-Day Women

Or, as the case may be, banana bread!

I was inspired to bake by three things: the bananas I had in the freezer; the delicious descriptions in Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life; and the rainy NY weather.

I used Wizenberg's basic recipe for Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger- a bit cakier than I like, but very tasty - but omitted the ginger and added coconut. I used the leftover chocolate from yesterday's cake, cutting the bar into irregular hunks and shards. In fact, I don't love chocolate - or coconut! - but felt like something a little "dessert-y." I also added a shower of raw sugar for a crackly top, and on a whim baked it in three little pans instead of one.

Banana Bread with Chocolate and Coconut
Makes 1 loaf or 1 8-inch round cake or 3 mini loaves

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut
2 large eggs
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup well-stirred whole-milk plain yogurt (not low or nonfat*)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A handful of raw sugar (optional)

1. Set a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan or an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray or butter.

2. Melt the butter on the stove or in a microwave and set aside to cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and coconut and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla and stir to mix well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter with be thick and somewhat lumpy, just make sure all the flour has been incorporated. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with sugar, if you like.

5. Bake into the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 mins to an hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with foil. (The minis took roughly 40 minutes, give or take.)

6. Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then tip out onto the rack, and let it cool completely before slicing**. The loaf freezes well wrapped in plastic wrap and again in foil to protect from freezer burn.

*I used low-fat, most uncharacteristically. It was fine.
** I didn't do this.

Since these pix were taken, I've delivered a still-warm loaf to the downstairs neighbors/landlords. They, in turn, returned the plate on which I brought them meringues last week.

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