Thursday, November 12, 2009
Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Bread With Molasses & Marsala
I really don't care for banana bread, at least I didn't before I perfected this recipe. The only reason I would have been motivated in the past to make banana bread is because I had over ripe bananas hanging around. I buy them for my morning cereal quite often, but some mornings it's a savory breakfast that wins out or I have oatmeal. Thus I look at those bananas that start to really freckle up and have that dilemma. Sometimes I peel them and wrap them in aluminum foil and put them in the freezer. They make an excellent snack that is good for you and if you talk yourself into it you can imagine you are eating banana ice cream. But more often than not, I already have some in the freezer and banana nut muffins or banana bread comes to mind.
In the past I have made banana bread, but I was like Goldilocks and The Three Bears, one was way too moist, one was way too dry, but this recipe is just right. This banana bread retained the correct amount of moisture, and is meltingly delicious and from hence forth I will be a banana bread fan! I love this recipe and I hope if you decide to try it you will love it too!
I started out knowing I would use bananas, flour, and sugar and oil. As for the flour, I try to use some whole wheat flour in most of my baking, when I can. In this recipe I used whole wheat and all purpose in a 50/50 ratio. I know most people give a greater ratio to the all purpose, but I tried it this way and it worked. When it came to oil/butter I have left butter behind in most of my cooking and opt for either canola oil or olive oil. Lately I have graduated to olive oil in my baking because it provides a textural quality to baked goods that I don't get from canola oil, and as long as it is not too fruity it compliments the flavor profile in the baked product. I know walnuts or some addition of nuts is traditional, but for me they would represent texture. The chocolate chips and molasses (cut back on the sugar a bit) were a definite flavor addition and because I was jotting notes and sipping a bit of marsala I just knew in my bones it would also work. Maybe I had sipped a wee bit too much Marsala, but it proved to be a genius addition if I do say so. Whereas some recipes call for the addition of buttermilk, I substituted the marsala as a liquid. My only concern was with the elimination of the buttermilk and its chemical action, should I add more baking soda? I didn't and it turned out just fine.
Preheat your oven to 325º
Oil/flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan
Total baking time 75-90 minutes
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, you may substitute melted butter, or canola oil
1/2 cup dark, unsulphured molasses, you may substitute an additional 1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 cup Marsala wine, you substitute 1/4 cup of buttermilk
2 large eggs, well beaten
4 ripe mashed bananas
Blend into final mixture:
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup well chopped walnuts
Into a bowl sift all the "dry" ingredients and set aside.
Put olive oil, molasses, sugar, vanilla extract and wine into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 10 or more minutes until well "creamed" and sugars have dissolved. This step cannot be overworked so take your time here. Next add the beaten eggs and mix again to incorporate. When this is all blended, fold in the bananas and hand mix thoroughly.
Add the dry mixture to the mixing bowl of wet ingredients in 3 batches, stirring/folding until just blended. Then fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts and pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Place on a rack in the center of the preheated oven and bake until done. I tested mine with a wooden skewer, but at 75 minutes it was not quite there and left it in the oven the full 90 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, remove to a rack and cool completely.
I wrapped the bread in foil and left it at room temperature overnight, and do believe it tasted better the next day. The texture was great, the flavor was more complex with the molasses and marsala while the chocolate chips gave it a decadent tone that I usually didn't experience with banana bread.
My next iteration of this recipe will mix 1/2 chocolate chips and 1/2 toffee chips and that will be that!