Banana Bread Baking.

After the stress of the house move, all I’ve wanted to do is get into the new kitchen and do some baking. There’s just something so therapeutic about watching a cake rise or the smell of freshly baked cookies… There goes my healthy eating resolution!

Whilst I’ll confess I don’t do a lot of baking these days, when I do make it into the kitchen for anything other than a bung-it-all-in-the-oven-whilst-I-drink-wine-in-the-bath supper (this particular cookbook is my new fave in this area!), I often come back to this banana bread recipe. I can’t really remember where it came from, but I’ve made it so many times  I know the recipe by heart!

Bananas seem to be something we love to buy, but don’t always get around to eating before they inevitably shrivel into brown mush; and whipping up a loaf of banana bread is the perfect way to use up all those sad bananas languishing at the bottom of the fruit bowl. It’s also the best way I know to get my fussy boyfriend to eat more fruit, which is an added bonus for anyone with children (or a man child, like me!), and with a few sneaky chocolate chips added makes you feel a bit naughty without actually being TOO bad for you… Unless you can’t restrict yourself to one slice – guilty!

My Gramps was well known for his banana bread (it was one of the few things he could cook!) so it always reminds me of him. Hopefully he would approve of this – although the chocolate chips would not have made it into his version!

Ingredients

2 or 3 mashed over-ripe bananas

175g caster sugar

100g butter (leave this to soften for 30 minutes or so beforehand)

2 eggs

225g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

120g chocolate chips (I love white, but milk or dark work just as well)

A couple of drops vanilla essence

2 tablespoons milk

Passionfruit curd (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C, (you could also pop in your bananas if they’re not quite ripe enough for easy mashing). Grease and line your loaf tin with some baking paper, then grease the paper too – this makes it really easy to slide out the bread later on. Leave to one side.

Cream the softened butter with the sugar until well combined. Then combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) in a separate bowl. Next, add the eggs individually with a spoonful of the dry ingredient mixture after each, and beat together. The beat in the remaining dry mixture, followed by the vanilla essence. Then add the mashed banana and milk.

Finally mix in the chocolate chips, slowly folding them in a couple of times to evenly distribute them – be careful not to overmix at this point, or your bread may not rise as well.

Pour the mix into your loaf tin, then sprinkle with a small handful more chocolate chips, pressing them lightly into the top of the cake mixture to stop them from burning. Sometimes I like to marble a couple teaspoons of passionfruit curd into the top of the cake too – it adds a little more moisture and gives the bread a more tropical taste!
Place your loaf on the middle shelf of the oven and leave to cook for around 40 to 50 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake from around the 35 minute mark – there’s nothing more heartbreaking than a burnt cake! When ready, the top of the loaf should be a light golden brown.  Poke a skewer into the centre of the bread – it should come out clean when the cake is done!

Cut a slice whilst still warm to find your ultimate happy place, or store in the fridge (it keeps it more moist) if you’re feeling generous enough to share it later. Pop the kettle on and enjoy with a cup of tea to beat that mid-afternoon slump – HEAVEN.

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