There's nothing quite like the process of baking something at home and from scratch; it yields an amazingly delicious and comforting sweet treat, absolutely perfect for sharing.
As the season begins to change, I feel myself gravitating towards the warmth of my kitchen to prepare some homemade treats.
Recently, I found myself longing for the aroma of brown sugar, ripe bananas, vanilla, and chocolate, all cozied-up in the oven, gently rising and caramelizing into a pillowy melt-in-your-mouth loaf of bread.
A delectable chocolate chip banana bread, finished with a touch of peanut butter icing, and full of those sweet little things that seem to make life a little better, and perhaps even a little more joyful, can make the experience of baking at home an utterly delectable and cozy little pleasure.
A warm, homemade dessert has a really special way of comforting, uplifting and soothing my spirit, simply and sweetly.
Everything from pulling out all of the necessary ingredients and placing them on the counter top in a wonderful mosaic of colors and flavors; to bringing them all together in perfect measure; to baking them at the ideal temperature for just the right amount of time; and finally, to enjoying bite after cozy bite of the finished loveliness is a divine pleasure for body and soul.
Baking from scratch has a way of inviting me into a beautifully conscious state, one which relaxes my mind and awakens sweet anticipation of something delicious and good for my soul; it has a wonderful way of opening my heart up a little more than it was, of eliciting the best out of me, because the end result—what is yielded—is inherently fun, playful, tasty, and oooh, sooo sweet.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Peanut Butter Icing
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 1 loaf
• 3 ripe bananas (lots of brown spots!), mashed as smoothly as possible
• 3/4 cup brown sugar
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 4 eggs, room temp
• 1/2 cup, heaping, sour cream
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups, plus 1 tablespoon, all-purpose flour, divided use
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• Peanut Butter Icing (recipe below)
• 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips (optional for drizzle)
• 1 tablespoon crushed peanuts (optional for topping)
-Preheat the oven to 350°, and lightly mist a non-stick loaf pan (9 x 5) with cooking spray.
-In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas with the brown and granulated sugars; using a hand mixer, mix on medium-low until well-combined.
-Next, add in the vegetable oil, the eggs, the sour cream and the vanilla, continue to mix until well-blended.
-Whisk together the 2 cups of flour (reserving the 1 tablespoon), baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and add those into the banana mixture; mix these dry ingredients in just until combined, taking care not to over mix so you don't have a “tough” loaf.
-Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour with the chocolate chips (toss them in it), and add the chips into the batter, shaking off the excess flour; using a spoon, fold the chips in.
-Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, and bake for about 1 hour and 5-10 minutes, or until baked through (I like to loosely cover mine with foil during the final 20-25 minutes of baking to prevent it from getting too dark too quickly); allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully turn out and allow to completely cool on a rack before icing.
-Drizzle peanut butter icing over cooled loaf, and allow to set up.
-Melt the milk chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute or so, and drizzle over the top of the loaf, if desired (you can do this by adding the melted chocolate to a small ziplock bag and cutting the corner off for a thin drizzle line)—this is just to make it a little and decorative; then sprinkle the crushed peanuts over that.
-Allow chocolate to set up a little, and slice and serve!
Peanut Butter Icing Ingredients:
• 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jiff “Natural” Creamy)
• 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) water
• 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-Place all ingredients into a medium-large bowl, and using a hand mixer or a whisk, mix together until well-blended and creamy; the icing should be pretty thick yet fairly pourable, so if you need a tad more water, just add by the teaspoon-full to get there; or conversely, if too thin, add a touch more powdered sugar.
-Use immediately, or keep covered.