Verdict: Win

Definitely bought too many groceries this week as I was left with a surplus of ripe/edging-on-too-ripe bananas. Looks like I'm still adjusting to cooking for myself this semester, but at least it led to some more opportunities to bake. I wanted to go for a traditional banana bread, but this recipe had me hooked at the nontraditional addition of crystallized ginger. On a whim I bought an ounce of crystallized ginger from The Spice House in Evanston a few weeks ago, and it was just enough for this recipe. I didn't have yogurt on hand, so I subbed in 2% milk plus a little extra butter and it turned out just fine. The bread was perfectly moist and just sweet enough to serve for dessert or breakfast. The best part was that each bite had morsels of smooth chocolate that melt on my tongue and a spicy little kick from the ginger.

I bought >12 bananas today...partially because they were on sale for $0.39/lb, and partially to accidentally end up with too many overripe bananas and thus "forced" to make more banana bread.



Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, found on The Wednesday Chef
Yield: 1 loaf or 1 8-inch round cake

INGREDIENTS
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

DIRECTIONS
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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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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