Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger

I’ve been fairly remiss in blogging once more. It’s been a lazy couple of weeks around here and I am more than OK with that. Surprisingly enough, I’ve actually found myself in the kitchen a fair bit. This summer’s crazy heat has resulted in an abundance of cheap, delicious berries and I have been doing my best to put all that fruit to good use! I’ve made pies and crisps and bars and cookies. I’ve also worked my way through a few of the recipes in Molly Wizenberg’s “A Homemade Life”. Excellent book, by the way and there are a number of good recipes. So far, my favorites are the banana bread and the bread salad with cherries, arugula and goat cheese. I’ve made the banana bread 2 or 3 times now and it’s been quite a hit in our house. One time I was out of yogurt and used plain (full fat) sour cream instead. But it’s a great variation on the classic. And as Molly recommends, it is actually quite good to eat a slice straight from the freezer. Yum.

Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
Adapted from “A Homemade Life”
Makes 1 loaf or 1 8-inch round cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup well-stirred whole-milk plain yogurt (not low or nonfat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Set a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan or an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray or butter.

2. Melt the butter on the stove or in a microwave and set aside to cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

4. 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, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter with be thick and somewhat lumpy, just make sure all the flour has been incorporated. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top.

5. Bake into the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 mins to an hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with foil.

6. 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. The loaf freezes well wrapped in plastic wrap and again in foil to protect from freezer burn.

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