Friday, November 19, 2010

flour bakery banana bread with chocolate and crystallized ginger

We’ve all been doing a lot of thumb twiddling in the past few days, waiting for an overdue arrival. So when K. alerted me to the bunch of bananas idling in her kitchen, banana bread seemed as appropriate a way as any to pass the time. (It’s rare that our bananas make it ever to the sufficiently browned stage; the smell—and the craving for a breakfast smoothie—usually does them in before then.)

This recipe is a celebrity mash-up of sorts. The base comes from Flour Bakery’s deservedly famous banana bread (a Boston staple I’ve enjoyed several times over, and one of the signature items in Joanne Chang’s new cookbook); but I have Molly Wizenberg to thank for the inspired additions of chocolate and crystallized ginger.

These flourishes make the bread feel more dessert-y, than breakfast-y, in my book (which is exactly how we served it—with a little whipped cream). But the morning-after pieces were, if possible, even more delicious.

Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
Adapted from Flour, by Joanne Chang and A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg

This banana bread only improves with a day's rest. If the chocolate and crystallized ginger are a little extreme for your tastes, substitute toasted walnuts and add an additional tablespoon of sugar for a more traditional loaf.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed (I used an immersion blender to smooth out any lumps)
2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, crème fraiche, and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined.

Fold in flour mixture, then the chocolate chips and ginger. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until loaf the is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then tip out onto the rack, and let it cool completely before slicing.

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