Because I find myself with overripe bananas pretty much every other week, our family eats a lots of banana bread. The freezer also has become sort of a halfway house for wayward over-ripened bananas. But if you like to cook (and I do) and you hate throwing food away (again, me), then over-ripened bananas are a gift, a gateway ingredient to something delicious.
This particular banana bread came about because I have a big thing for crystallized ginger. My father’s father introduced me to it when I was a kid. He adored it, and even though he was born in Brooklyn in 1903, he was somehow attuned to the fact that ginger is a healthy ingredient, which in those days was not something all that widely known outside of Eastern cultures. Bernie Workman, ahead of his time. He would have loved this bread studded with nuggets of chewy sweet ginger and bits of melty chocolate.
If you use a glass loaf pan versus a metal one you may need a few extra minutes of baking time. This recipe also makes great banana muffins. Line 12 regular muffin tins with paper liners. Fill them evenly with the batter, filling them about three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 23 to 27 minutes, or until the muffins spring back when pressed lightly at the centre. Let them sit in the tins on wire racks for 5 minutes, then gently turn them out of the tins and cool them upright on the rack. Eat warm or at room temperature.
BANANA BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE AND CRYSTALIZED GINGER
Start to finish: 1 hour (20 minutes active), plus cooling
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 cup mashed)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
Heat the oven to 350 F. Butter or coat with cooking spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the chocolate and the ginger.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla. Blend in the mashed bananas and sour cream.
Switch to a wooden spoon and add the flour mixture in batches to the wet mixture, mixing just until each addition is incorporated. At the end, the batter should be barely blended (it will be thick). Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted at the centre comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan and finishing cooling upright on the wire rack.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at www.themom100.com.