Happiness is baking a banana bread and having a thick slice of it during the golden hour
I am a Tuscan girl but I do not eat pappa al pomodoro every day, even though I could easily survive on that for a week. I try to blog mainly about Tuscan food, because it’s what I know better, what made me who I am now and what gave me a reason to believe in dreams. But if you want to impress me, bring me to a sushi bar for a dinner out, or even a Spanish restaurant could do the trick. Let’s have a gourmet hamburger with homemade ketchup and smelly cheese before heading to Bruce Springsteen’s concert (YAY, less than one month!) or surprise me with a spicy Thai take-away to take my breath away.
So forgive me if today I’m posting a banana bread recipe, no childhood memories related to this moist loaf, and no, you won’t find it in an old grease stained paper menu in a crossroad trattoria in Tuscany. This was my last food crush, and it’s worth of a few words.
I thought you were a banana bread girl, told me Emiko when I sent her an excited message about me baking the very first banana bread of my life (yes, we chat a lot). I was. I even bought a small bag of highly expensive and not at all local macadamia nuts a few days earlier: I knew I would have used them in a banana bread, I just didn’t want to admit it, even to myself.
This was more than a food crush, it was a foodie crush. I discovered another stunning food writer whose words are worth a thousand pictures (I’m always the last one to get to know things): more or less a month ago Gaia suggested me to read Molly Wizenberg – Orangette‘s blog and book, A Homemade life. She was pretty sure I would have loved her. And so it was.
Man, she knows how to use words! Light, witty, ironical and fun, she tells you recipes interwoven with her personal life, she shows you with vivid images why you will eventually find yourself in love with a recipe, and it happens without fail. After a few pages or blog posts you consider Molly one of your friends, you find yourself sharing the same memories and emotions.
One of the first recipes of her book is a banana bread, I read the recipe smacking my lips and bookmarked it. After a few days I was shopping at the local supermarket to make one of Dolci Tradizioni‘s recipes, when I spotted discounted overripe bananas: they were calling my name, aloud.
It was a slightly dissolute pleasure. I was baking cookies, cakes and tarts ten hours a day, late as ever on my schedule of recipes for the magazine, when I suddenly felt a compulsive need to bake a banana bread, for me. I whip it up in 10 minutes and spent the following hour dreaming about the cake, rocked by the mellow banana smell coming our of the oven.
Then I took a few pictures, madly in love with the melting chocolate running lusciously from the thick banana bread slices. Then I had two of that thick slices, feeling not guilty at all. It was a blissful moment instead, with the golden hour light warming my skin and the banana bread melting in my mouth.
It’s the kind of thing that begs to be cut into big, melty slices while the loaf is still hot… and so I did. Here’s the recipe, slightly adapted from Molly’s banana bread with chocolate and crystallized ginger. Then, I added a good sprinkling of macadamia nuts, inspired by one of her last published recipe, a pistachio pound cake.
Banana bread with chocolate and macadamia nuts
- 85 g of butter + butter to grease the loaf pan
- 250 g of unbleached all-purpose flour
- 150 g of sugar
- 3 g of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 100 g of dark chocolate, chopped
- 100 g of macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 100 g of well-stirred whole-milk plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 175°C.
- Grease a standard-size loaf pan with butter or line with with parchment paper.
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the chopped chocolate and half of the chopped macadamia nuts and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla and stir to mix well.
- Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, unitl just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick and somewhat lumpy, but there should be no unincorporated flour.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the left chopped macadamia nuts.
- Bake until the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown (and the nuts are golden, too) and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean,50 minutes to 1 hour.
- Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then tip it out onto the rack, and let it cool completely before slicing.. that was the difficult part, It was just amazing warm, with the chocolate still melting inside!
- I love lemon, I love olive oil, how not to love Heidi’s Lemony Olive Oil banana bread? I’m already dreaming about this, too!
- I had a slice, well two slices, of Beth’s banana, rum and macadamia cake this January. The crumbly texture was light and delicious, and the smell… bring on the Tropics!
- Tender, with a crisp, brown crust and really intense banana flavor, it’s perfect for breakfast, or thickly buttered with a hot cup of tea. You had me with hello, Banana bread on Food52.
Bye for a while
I’m entering into the most intense week of my life: cooking classes, my pastry class course and a picnic wedding to make… I’ll be back in ten days, for the moment enjoy the banana bread and tell me how much you’ll love it!