Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread - Yums!

I had some time on my hands and some bananas on the counter. This meant it was time to test another recipe from the Joy of Cooking. This time it was Banana Bread Cockaigne, page 628. I usually make banana bread from my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook.

According to wikipedia, "Cockaigne or Cockayne (pronounced /kɒˈkeɪn/) is a medieval mythical land of plenty, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist." What a delicious concept!

As always with baking, it is best to start with all ingredients at room temperature.  I don't usually plan enough ahead to achieve this.  Someday, I will.

I really need to work on taking pictures of food.  I am not that good at it. This does not look as delicious as it was!
It wasn't as banana'y as I would have liked.  Maybe next time, I'll add a fourth banana.  I also left out the lemon zest and added a teaspoon of vanilla.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening or butter (I used butter)
1 to 2 large eggs (I used 2)
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest (no lemons on hand so I skipped this part)
1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional and I don't add nuts)
1/4 finely chopped dried apricots (also optional and not found in my banana bread, maybe someday)
8 ounces of chopped semi sweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease bread pan.
2. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a small-ish mixing bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, and vanilla until creamy.  Then beat in 2 large beaten eggs.
4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, beating until smooth with each addition.  Fold in the nuts, apricots or chocolate, if desired. 
5.  Pour into greased bread pan and bake for about 60 minutes or until a knife comes out mostly clean.  The melted chocolate will give you trouble with the clean knife, but you should be able to tell if the banana bread is done with the knife.
6. Cool slightly before unmolding (otherwise it doesn't come out of the pan quite right). 

The book says to cool completely before serving, but that is nonsense.  I love warm, fresh banana bread, especially with a little bit of butter!  Yums!

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