Many years ago in what seems like a land far, far away (Boulder, Colorado) I was a caterer for a few years. One of the most requested offerings I ever made during those years is this decadent treatment of banana bread. In fact, the only thing that was requested more from my menu was my original version of Beloved Chicken Soup. My children loved it long after I stopped catering to clients and catered only to them. Even today, my husband Peter gives these sweet treats an A+, (which he knows is the only grade I like!)
A helpful tip when baking these – don’t try to answer “just one email” while they are baking, or go out to cut “just a few stems for the bouquets.” One burned pan of Chocolate Chip Banana Bread batter is not worth the email or the stems…. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about here. 😉
Siftable Ingredients ~
2 1/2 t. Baking Power
1 t. Baking Soda
2 t. spices ~ cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
1/2 t. salt
Cream-together Ingredients ~
2/3 cups softened Kerry Gold Butter (salted) (I know there are other brands of butter, but I have long since stopped using them. Kerry Gold is – sorry, I have to do it – the Gold Standard of butter! )
1 1/2 (one and a half) cups brown sugar
4 large brown eggs (I like brown eggs best and for the most part, those are the only kind I’ve ever used.)
4 T. Whole Milk
1 T. vanilla
*2 cups mashed very ripe bananas
The Embellishments ~ Hold till the batter is made!
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh walnuts (Smell them – if they are too old they will smell rancid and taste bitter. No amount of sugar or chocolate can hide that taste!) You can also substitute walnuts with Pecans. Some sweet folks do not like walnuts, some don’t like any nuts at all.
1 cup good raisins – bigger is better
1 bag (12 oz) Milk Chocolate Chips (I only use Guittard Milk Chocolate chips. They are so good I have to hide them in secret containers because in their packages they would be devoured by the man I live with upon discovery!)
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut
Steps to make the batter:
1. Assemble ingredients
2. Sift all the dry ingredients together – flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt – Keep separate.
3. Cream soft ingredients – butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, milk in a large mixing bowl. But NOT the softened bananas.
4. Mash the bananas till something like pudding – but leave some little chunks – don’t make it into soup! Keep separate.
5. In the large mixing bowl with the creamed ingredients, ADD half the sifted flour mixture and stir together. It will be quite stiff. Then add HALF the mashed bananas and stir together. When blended, stir in the remaining half of the sifted flour mixture and add the last half of the mashed bananas. You will have a thick batter at this point. Don’t overwork it or stir too long.
6. Now add the decadence! Chopped Walnuts, Raisins, Shredded Coconut, and Chocolate Chips.
Steps for Baking:
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
2. Choose the form you want to bake the batter into. You can choose to make this into standard size loaves for slicing, mini-loaves, little bundt pans, standard muffin size, or even mini-muffins. It is delicious no matter what shape or size! I make mine in standard muffin size for ease of serving and storing.
3. For standard muffin size – line the cups with baking parchment paper cups. It will save you all kinds of time later in clean up and keeps the serving process clean and lovely. 🙂
4. Fill each cup halfway – do not fill to the top. Leave room for these to expand or they will overflow and stick to the pan top.
5. Bake for APPROXIMATELY 15-22 minutes for muffins in the center of a pre-heated oven. Every oven is different. Watch for the top to begin to brown. If you are not sure that they are done, take a pan out and stick a knife blade, toothpick into the center of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, they are done. If not stick them back in for a few minutes. My husband likes his softer, I like mine a little more crispy on the top. A few minutes makes a big difference.
6. When they are done, take them out of the oven and promptly take them out of the pan (leaving the parchment paper on them, not in the pan.)
7. Promptly eat while warm! Save what you can, covered in an airtight container leaving plenty of room for the muffins so you don’t smash them!
Note: These make wonderful gifts for neighbors and friends, also. Watch what happens when you share some!
The featured images are courtesy of Lancia E. Smith and used with her glad permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project.
For a printable pdf of the recipe – Lancia’s Decadent Spice Nut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Lancia E. Smith is an author, photographer, teacher, and business owner. A grateful lover of the Triune God, Lancia is the Founder & Executive Director of Cultivating & The Cultivating Project. She has served in executive management, church leadership, boards, and Art & Faith organizations over 30 years. She & her husband Peter have parented 7 children, & have a flock of beloved grandchildren. Lancia loves garden and website design, beautiful typography, road trips, being read aloud to by Peter, & cherishes every book she ever read by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and George MacDonald.