Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: a simple, delicious banana bread, full of chocolate chips and sprinkle of hazelnuts. Ultimate comfort in the form of a quick bread.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: a simple, delicious banana bread, full of chocolate chips and sprinkle of hazelnuts. Ultimate comfort in the form of a quick bread. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

It’s time for the February installment of my Quick Bread of the Month!  Last month, I shared a Cranberry Cider Quick Bread, combing my favorite fall/winter flavors.  This month, it’s something a little less seasonal — chocolate chip banana bread.

I’m going to take a guess here and say that banana bread is the most popular quick bread.  Even people who don’t seem to bake have made a banana bread or two.

I have my suspicions that this is less because banana bread is so wildly popular (which isn’t to say that it isn’t enjoyed — just that I don’t think it’s SO much better than other delicious quick breads) and more because we all wind up with those over-ripened bananas and need something to do with them.

I’m sure I’m not the only person out there who buys more bananas than necessary and winds up with some pretty brown bananas now and then (it doesn’t help that I like my bananas under-ripe — the second one spot of brown shows up, I’m no longer interested in eating them).

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: a simple, delicious banana bread, full of chocolate chips and sprinkle of hazelnuts. Ultimate comfort in the form of a quick bread. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

Why Do Bananas Turn Brown?

Ever wonder why bananas turn brown and mushy so quickly?  It’s time for a little of my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Banans, like most fruits, ripen by interacting with ethylene gas in the air.  This contact with ethylene causes the acids in the fruit to break down.  This process of breaking down the acids produces even more ethylene gas.  Most fruits, however, only produce a small amount of ethylene as they ripe.  Bananas, on the other hand, produce a lot, and thus ripen much faster than other fruits.  Bananas quickly progress from green to yellow to brown due to enzymatic browning after contact with ethylene gas.

Hopefully, like me, you also save your over-ripe bananas in the freezer rather than toss them, since they are perfect for baking.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: a simple, delicious banana bread, full of chocolate chips and sprinkle of hazelnuts. Ultimate comfort in the form of a quick bread. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

Baking with Ripe Bananas

Why are super duper ripe bananas so great for baking?  Can you just substitute in an not-so-ripe banana instead?  The answer is no — but maybe not for the reason you’re thinking.

At first glance, the texture of the banana seems like the biggest difference.  It’s a lot harder to mash up a green banana than it is to mash a brown banana, right?

But the real issue with baking is the pH of the banana.  A slightly-green to normal banana has a pH around 4.6.  The pH of an overripe banana, however, has a pH of 6.5 or higher.  The pH of the batter has a big effect on leavening and whether to use baking soda or baking powder – and using under-ripe bananas can unintentionally lower the pH of your batter!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: a simple, delicious banana bread, full of chocolate chips and sprinkle of hazelnuts. Ultimate comfort in the form of a quick bread. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

How to Make Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

When my freezer bag-o-bananas is getting full, chocolate chip banana bread is usually pretty high on my list of things to make.  It’s easy, it’s always a crowd pleaser, and it makes my kitchen smell delicious.

There are thousands of recipes out there, from Plain Jane banana bread with no add-ins all the way to crazy concoctions like cinnamon streusel topped cream cheese stuffed nutella swirl peanut butter chip banana bread, which seems to me like someone just opened their cabinets and dumped everything in.

(The nutella and peanut butter chips sound awesome, but you lose me with the cream cheese stuffing and streusel combination.)

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: a simple, delicious banana bread, full of chocolate chips and sprinkle of hazelnuts. Ultimate comfort in the form of a quick bread. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

I use a pretty simple recipe — bananas (of course!), some greek yogurt for extra moisture, chocolate chips (preferably miniature, so the chocolate is more evenly dispersed and you get a little in each bite), and hazelnuts.  That’s right — hazelnuts.

I know nuts are controversial. Much to my husband’s chagrin, I like nuts so I toss a handful in there.   The hazelnuts are a delicious — and unexpected — alternative to the more common walnuts.

Prefer pecans or walnuts to hazelnuts?  Go for it.  Want to add in some peanut butter chips?  Sounds great!  Feel like topping with some cinnamon streusel?  You be you, friend.  This recipe is made for adaptation.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: a simple, delicious banana bread, full of chocolate chips and sprinkle of hazelnuts. Ultimate comfort in the form of a quick bread. {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

Looking for something to do with your quick bread (besides eat it, of course)?  If you can manage to save a few slices… check back later this week for a delicious treat starring this very same chocolate chip banana bread! (Update: it’s this outrageously delicious Banana Bread French Toast!)

More Banana Dessert Recipes:

All Quick Bread Recipes

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

A simple, delicious banana bread, full of chocolate chips and sprinkle of hazelnuts.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (preferably miniature)
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale colored and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture, beating until just combined.  Add in the bananas, yogurt, and vanilla and mix.  Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts by hand.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted int the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  If the bread is browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil around 40 minutes of baking time.  Let the bread rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool before slicing.  Banana bread will keep in an airtight container for several days at room temperature or frozen, wrapped in aluminum foil and sealed in a freezer storage bag, for up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: A simple, delicious banana bread, full of chocolate chips and sprinkle of hazelnuts. Ultimate comfort in the form of a quick bread. #bunsenburnerbakery #bananabread #quickbread