Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Chocolate Banana Bread
I just came back from a few blissful days in New York City which always remind me of the time when I actually was a New Yorker. When I was living in New York (and was a student at the French Culinary Institute) I found myself a little overwhelmed by the city at times. The funny thing is that New York is actually a lot more brash and chaotic when you're visiting the city than when you live in it. I don't think I went to Times Square once when I lived in New York, and I got to appreciate the calm, often incredibly empty streets of the lower East side later in the evening and discover small neighborhoods you just don't have the time to go to when you're only in New York for a couple days. That being said though, what I thought I would love about New York was the one thing that pushed me away from it. New York is one of the only places in the world where you can find close to anything you want at almost anytime of the day - or night. That's especially true for food. I found myself missing the closed shops on Sundays in Paris and those times where the city really shuts up and you're forced to wait for things a little. New York was the beautiful, diverse city of the everything-available, and I realized that sometimes not having what you want when you want it is a precious thing in everyday life.
That being said, I think I will always have a long-distance love affair with New York - and that I did, for a few days at least. Memorable moments were a dinner at Mario Batali's Otto, where Oliver and I indulged in multiple antipasti dishes including grilled octopus, eggplant caponata and pesto caprese as well as one of the best goat cheese and caramelized onion pizzas I've ever had. The restaurant also bottles its own carbonated water and sells it for a reasonable restaurant price which is always a nice touch in my book. It's one those nice casual dining settings where you can over-order but still come out with a decently-priced bill which is not always that easy to do in NY!
I am now back in Montreal and wanted to welcome the new year with this recipe for Banana Bread. This is the Baked bakery recipe for banana chocolate muffins which I now make mostly use for banana loafs. I catch myself secretly coming up with devices for Oliver not to remember about the bananas we just bought at the market. The truth is, bananas take a while to be very, very ripe. In my experience, the best banana loafs - the really moist ones you can't stop eating - are made with incredibly mushy bananas. Even when the skin of bananas are completely brown, the banana inside is sometimes still not completely mushy. And, as much as I hate the word 'mushy' in the food-world, mushy is really the key to banana bread. The mushier the banana the more sweet it is, hence the better the loaf - you get the point!
Chocolate Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups of mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium-sized bananas)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup of whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon of strong espresso
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, stir in the banana, sugars, butter, espresso, milk and egg.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the middle of the bowl and gently add in the banana mixture. Stir into just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate.
Fill a greased loaf pan with the batter and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just clean. Enjoy!