Have you read “A Homemade Life” yet? If you haven’t, add it to your Amazon wish list and buy it as soon as you can. I have been slowly enjoying Molly Wizenberg’s memoir over the past few months and I am just one chapter away from the end. I almost don’t think that I can explain how truly lovely and beautiful this book is. Molly has filled her book with stories and memories of her father, how she met her vinegar-loving husband through her blog Orangette, getting her heart broken in Paris and everything in between. At the end of each story is a recipe or two inspired by the story. They range from her father Burg’s potato salad to Little Corn Cakes w/ Bacon, Tomato and Avocado which she served at her wedding. I have many recipes tabbed and listed in my “must make this as soon as possible” list.
As soon as I read the name of “Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger” I knew that I needed to make it for my ginger-loving fiend of a boyfriend. I wouldn’t have ever thought to put little chunks of crystallized ginger into a quick bread but it is fantastic. This is a denser banana bread than the uber-moist variety that I have been making on a regular basis but it is very good. I took Molly’s suggestion of freezing the loaf after we have enjoyed a few slices and eating it cold, straight from the freezer. I almost like it better this way. I hope you try it because this recipe is a keeper. The best part about going back to a tabbed recipe in the book is that it gives you an excuse to re-read the chapter leading up to it, and remember the lovely story that made you want to try the recipe in the first place. Buy this book. You will enjoy it many, many times over.
Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
From “A Homemade Life” p. 26 by Molly Wizenberg
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 (or a chopped up bar)
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup well-stirred whole-milk plain yogurt (not low or nonfat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Set a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Grease a 9 by 5 loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
In a small bowl, microwave the butter until just melted. (Be careful and do this over medium power in short burst because it can explode or splatter and that is a big mess.) Or melt it in the preheating oven. 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 mins. Then tip out onto the rack, and let it cool completely before slicing (if you can wait that long).
The loaf freezes well wrapped in plastic wrap and again in foil to protect from freezer burn. Try it cold, sliced fresh out of the freezer with a glass of milk or a cup of tea. Divine.