Daddy Jim’s Banana(s) Bread

The bananas banana bread that I made on Saturday actually has nothing to do with Father’s Day itself. In fact, I didn’t even bring a slice for my dear dad to chow on yesterday during our island walk (I did bring him one of these, though). However, it is inspired by the recipe that my dad and I crafted years back and when I found myself with a kitchen full of fruit flies (gag) and black bananas, I thought an ode to Daddy Jim this weekend was quite appropriate. I used his ingenious idea of maximizing the banana flavor in my recipe and I cannot stop thinking about this bread. It has totally consumed my food thoughts since my first bite on Saturday and I never want to go without it again…

….but back to that in a second.

I just have to let you all in one of Boston’s best secrets – the Boston Harbor Islands.


Ok, I know. The islands really aren’t much of a secret…I had just never been before. Spectacle Island is only a 20 minute ferry ride from downtown and it is like being in a whole new world (with a constant view of the Boston skyline – and airport – to remind you that home is never too far away).

Dad and I set out on the 11:30 am ferry and spent a glorious two hours winding around the island under the bluest sky, dotted with marshmallow clouds, basking in the sunshine.

Sunshine – what a sneak! Being the brilliant outdoors woman that you have all come to know, I did not even consider slathering on the sunscreen. I think my exact thought was “Oh, I’ll be moving. And it’s not like I’ll have a bathing suit on.”

News flash: the sun still does its thing when you’re moving. And wearing clothing.

I’ve got the whole world in my hand. Or at least the world that matters to me most 😉

I blame him for the sunburn, the turned up nose, and a complete obsession with salt and vinegar chips (remember?) =) We spent the afternoon chatting about everything and nothing and our trip reminded me of how grateful I am to not only have a father but a fantastic one at that. Not every woman can say that her dad is the one she calls when she’s eaten the most perfect ginger cookie, when she is having (once again) a “what am I doing with my life?!” crisis, and when she just wants someone to shoot the breeze with. Every girl should be so lucky.

My dad is one of the greatest cooks I know and while I like to think I’ve got the upper hand when it comes to baking, he made the best banana bread I had ever tasted back in April. His secret? SIX bananas.

I cannot stand when a banana bread recipe calls for only a banana or two. Hello? How is that supposed to knock anyone’s socks off? Now I understand that you’re not likely to have 6 brown bananas sitting on your counter any old time (although my dad purposely buys and paper bags extra ‘nanners just for bread making) so I’ve offered some alternatives for those times when you don’t have a load of mushy fruit on hand.

If you’re smart (and like delicious things), you’ll make this immediately. Brown bag those bananas right now and in 3 days time you’ll have the perfect fruit for baking. Feel free to leave out the chocolate but chocolate and banana might be one of the greatest flavor combos ever known so really, why would you?

Daddy Jim’s Banana(s) Bread

makes 1 9×5 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry or regular whole wheat work, too)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar (or 1/3 cup regular sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease 9×5 pan.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mash 3 bananas, leaving soft chunks.
  • In a separate bowl or in your stand mixer, whip together the other 3 bananas and the sugar with an electric mixer until it is nice and fluffy (this will take about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Fold in the mashed bananas, walnuts and chocolate chips.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan and rap the pan on the counter to get out any air bubbles. Bake for about 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Alternatives:

  • Only have 4 bananas? That’s totally fine – just add a 1/3 cup oil, such as safflower or canola, to the wet mixture to be sure that the mixture stays nice and moist.

Do you see those large yellow, melted blobs of ooey, gooey banana? That’s exactly why we mash half of the bananas – who doesn’t want a marshmallowy, melted hunk of banana in her bread?!

 

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