Grandma Bea’s Banana Bread with Chocolate
Makes two 5 x 9-inch (or 4-1/2 x 8-inch, taller) loaves
- 3 cups mashed banana (6 – 7) (ripe & soft, but not mushy)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- 1-1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts, plus more for the top (nuts are optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter your loaf pans or line them with parchment paper.
With a fork, mash the bananas well in a small bowl. Add lemon juice to prevent discoloration; stir and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar and oil and beat until well-incorporated. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat slowly or stir, until combined. Stir in the mashed bananas until incorporated, then the chocolate and nuts. (Like all quick breads, avoid over-beating as this only activates the gluten and toughens the bread.) Pour into two loaf pans and bake in a 350° oven for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. (If using the smaller size loaf pan, baking times will be longer.) Allow to cool in their pans on a rack. Remove from the pan, and if you can wait, let it sit until tomorrow when it will be even better!
(Grandma Bea is the grandma-in-law of my daughter Ali. She’s Spanish, adorable, and, I think, an instinctively good cook. This recipe has been passed around liberally. It’s one of those that gets begged for. She specifies walnuts here. This almost never happens, but when I went to the cupboard for them this morning, I found none. I substituted hazelnuts – (sorry Bea!) – and was pleased! Applying the general rule of “what grows together, goes together,” I’m thinking how delicious macadamia nuts would be! Grandma Bea lived for years in Hawaii…maybe she’d approve.)