Last week I put a few bananas in a bag to ripen some pears that I bought and for some reason it took a lot longer for those pears to ripen than usual so I had several overly ripe bananas on my hands that were even too ripe for my husband to eat! It was either bye-bye bananas or hello banana bread and you can see which way I went. I'd never made a banana bread with whole wheat flour before and I wanted to see what would happen. Would it be too dense? Would it have a strange whole wheat taste that masked the banana flavor? I'm happy to report that neither of these came true and that the bread is totally delicious--darker than white flour versions but totally moist with a really nice flavor and texture. Even if you already have a favorite banana bread recipe, I urge you to give this a try!
As with most quick breads, the whole thing comes together very easily without the need for an electric mixer. This one is filled not only with bananas and whole wheat flour but other good stuff like sour cream, honey, walnuts and chocolate chips, which give it a decadent almost cakey feel.
Yum! I may intentionally let some bananas get a bit too ripe in the near future!!
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes; Bake Time: 70-75 minutes
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed up
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream (light version is fine, but not fat free)
3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a large loaf pan (9 1/4 x5 1/4 inch) with parchment or wax paper. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix the butter sugar, and honey together. Add the eggs and the bananas, mixing until almost smooth.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, alternating with spoonfuls of sour cream. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Try not to over-mix as this produces a tougher loaf.
4. Bake for about 70 minutes until the loaf is firm on top and a tester inserted into the center comes out dry and clean (don't count the chocolate chips which melt and might stick to the tester--you want to make sure no cake crumbs stick). Let cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto rack and remove parchment paper and turn again so the loaf is right side up. Let cool completely. Serve at room temperature.
5. Banana bread lasts 4-5 days wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature. Leftovers taste great slightly toasted and warm.
Note: Recipe adapted from butter, sugar, flour, eggs by Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto, and Julia Moskin. I increased the amount of walnuts and added the chocolate chips.