I’ve been holding this post back for a few days because I haven’t been much in the mood to write. The last couple of weeks have been utterly exhausting due to a family emergency from which, thankfully, we are now well on the way to a full recovery. I slept through most of the weekend and mothered my way through the rest of it. When I tried to dig deep enough to offer you even a touch of inspiration or amusement, I succeeded in unearthing only jetlag, mental fogginess, and a face full of skin like I hadn’t seen since age 13.
That’s what I said to this banana bread when I pulled it out of the oven on Saturday in the one solid move I made all weekend. This recipe is a one-bowl wonder that’s just the thing when you could use a little comfort food with some nutritional saving grace. Quite a few years ago now, I started making the banana bread from Simply Recipes with some frequency (and, at times, with some urgency). Over time, I adapted it to our own tastes. Less sugar. More banana. Dark chocolate. Walnuts. But always in the one-bowl, no-fuss spirit that makes the original a thing of beauty.
That’s all I’ve got for you today. I’m trusting that we know each other well enough by now so if I show up without my bells on once in a while, you’ll still be my friends anyway. Next time I’ll try to put some makeup on for ya. But for now, I offer this: Just a loaf of banana bread.
- 4 large, very ripe bananas
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon brewed coffee (if you have it)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- A 3-finger pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (OR 1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour), spooned and leveled
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (I like Green & Black's 85%)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Grease a medium (8-cup/9 x 5 x 3 inch) loaf pan. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the melted butter. Crack the egg into the bowl near one of the sides, tilt the bowl slightly, and use the fork to lightly beat the egg. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and coffee to the bowl and mix with the fork to combine well.
- Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter. Add the flour and mix with the fork until just combined. Add the chocolate and walnuts and mix just until they're well distributed in the batter.
- Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until a tester inserted in the center comes out cleanish. It's fine if it has some banana or chocolate on it, but lots of wet batter ain't right. Cool in the pan on a rack for ten minutes (before unmolding to cool completely, if you're positively made of steel).