Banana bread, an American staple, because what else would you make with those bananas quickly darkening in the fruit bowl? While not an ancient recipe by an stretch of the imagination, banana bread has been loved by Americans since the Great Depression. And while my chocolate chip banana bread isn’t what the housewives of the 1930’s were making, it’s still a cultural connection to the American past.
The History of Banana Bread
By the 1930’s bananas were commonly found in American kitchens and so was baking powder, a new and readily available leavener. Quick breads gained popularity, because you didn’t have wait for yeast to rise. And you probably remember from history class that the 1930’s put American in the dark period of the Great Depression. No food would go to waste, including black bananas.
Thus the banana bread loaf was born. King Arthur Flour published a wonderful article on the history of banana bread, and the writer went through and baked recipes from each decade from the 30’s to now. It’s amazing how different each one is, and how each recipe is affected by the economy of the time. You can grab a slice of chocolate chip banana bread and read it here.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Just like bakers in the 1930’s, I’m not willing to let dark bananas go to waste. They are moist and sweet, the perfect addition to a quick bread loaf. Add to that freshly ground whole wheat flour and dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips, and you have a winner that still packs nutritional goodness. I love when chocolate meets health food, ha!
Here’s what you’ll need for Chocolate Chip Banana Bread:
1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour (soft wheat, spelt, etc.) (Mill your own, or buy it here.)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp mineral salt (or fine kosher)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/4 cup oil (I use coconut)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt) in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine oil, egg, and sugar. Whisk to combine. Stir in vanilla and mashed banana. Add wet mixture to flour mixture and stir just until combined.
- Add the chocolate chips, and gently fold into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan, and even out the top.
- Bake loaf in oven until golden brown and cracked on top, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for at least five minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack. Slice and serve warm.
This banana bread is the perfect breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or a fabulous gift for a new neighbor. Enjoy the goodness of whole grains and the rich chocolate-banana combination. And if the loaf happens to survive more than a few days, slice it up and use it for french toast!
I’d love to know if you grew up eating banana bread, and if so, what made that recipe unique? Have a great week and happy baking (and gardening)!