When life gives you rotten bananas…

So, you know how you and your roommates make a biweekly trip to the yuppie grocery store outside the city, because it’s actually cheaper than the Not-So-Safeway just a few blocks from your house, and you want to be environmentally conscious, so you bring your own grocery bags with you, and you suffer through the stares from the people behind you in line because even though your bookbags and duffel bags hold groceries just as well as anything else, they’re not stamped with the store logo so for some reason they’re not as good, and you get home and put away all your groceries, and then you take your bookbag back to your room and don’t look in it for another week, because it’s summer, until one day you wonder what that funny smell is coming from your closet and you find that entire bunch of bananas that you wondered where they went but just assumed your roommates ate them before you did? No? Well, it happens more often than you think—usually it’s crackers or something that doesn’t really make a difference, but I guess bananas are better than, say, a gallon of milk.  At least they’re salvageable.  I mean, how often do you have an entire bunch of rotten bananas that you can make banana bread with?  Usually, there’s only one—two, if I’m really lucky—banana left in the bunch that’s too far gone for anyone to eat.  I hoard rotten bananas in the freezer for months before I have enough for a loaf.

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As banana breads go, this one is fairly involved, ingredient-wise, but everything goes into the same bowl and stirred with a fork, so it’s really not that bad (especially if you don’t have a dishwasher).

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This recipe has been tweaked and tweaked and tweaked (like I said, the missing-grocery-items scenario happens more often than you would think), but I think I’ve finally settled on a winning combination.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I’m a sucker for banana bread, and I would consider any combination a winning combination.  Anyway, this one has both white and brown sugars, and white and whole wheat flours in it.  If you want to keep it simple, feel free to make substitutions as you please.   Just do me a favor and don’t leave out the coffee, ok?  It’s vitally important to provide yourself with as many vehicles for caffeine consumption as possible.

Steeping the coffee.  Sometimes I just use the dregs from the coffee pot, but today there wasn't any left Sometimes I just use the dregs from the coffee pot, but today I had some bananas foster flavored coffee–terrible for drinking, but great for banana bread–so I steeped just a bit of that for this recipe.

And the chocolate.  Don’t skimp on the chocolate.  I skimped on this one, thinking walnuts would be a great addition.  They were, but they should have been that: an addition, not a substitution!

tip from granny: toss your chocolate chips/nuts in flour first before stirring them into a batter--it helps them stay suspended while baking

tip from granny: toss your chocolate chips/nuts in flour first before stirring them into a batter--it helps them stay suspended while baking

Added bonus: baking banana bread while the cable repair guy is at your house (for the THIRD time this month, I shit you not) guarantees that he’ll hang around long enough for the pans to come out of the oven, which gives him all the time he needs to make sure the job is done right this time.

Worth the wait--and the working television!

Worth the wait--and the working television!

Banana Bread (this was my starting point, although I’ve adapted it quite a bit):

makes 2 loaves

5-6 overripe bananas, smashed

1/2 cup melted butter

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

pinch of cinnamon

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup brewed coffee

2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

8 oz chopped chocolate or chocolate chips

Walnuts (optional)

Mix the butter and bananas until incorporated.  Batter will probably still be lumpy.  Add sugars, cinnamon, eggs, vanilla, and coffee, stir until (mostly) smooth.  Sprinkle baking soda and salt over top of batter, then add flour in 1-cup increments and mix until just incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips (or filling of your choice).  Divide batter evenly into two greased loaf pans; bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until knife comes out clean.  (Note: my bread usually browns 10-15 minutes before it’s done–I just cover it with foil and let it finish baking).

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

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