Here is the second installment from my upcoming book due out in October this year. Last time I hinted that the phrase "excellent eating" might be in the title. The title has now been changed to "Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Recipes You Can’t Wait to Make". But even though the title is all new - my promise to deliver you a recipe a month until the book is out - still holds. So here we are.
Today I give you a recipe for a mouthwatering banana bread, so moist and fragrant from the olive oil, studded with chocolate, and brightened by lemon zest. Something that's familiar, yet offers surprising flavors as well. Also, you may see some new photography looks and angles around here. My good friend Olga Massov who writes the blog Sassy Radish has been helping around here and there on the photography front and the like. We're having a lot of fun in the kitchen cooking and shooting food.
Let me know if this moves you enough to give it a try. Feedback is much appreciated!
Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
If you don’t have bananas so speckled with brown you can barely see the yellow beneath, don’t make this recipe. Hold off until you can smell the bananas in the fruit bowl from the moment you crack open the front door. When the whole house takes on that particular sweet, caramelized, vaguely decayed scent, you’re ready to go.
Waiting for the bananas to turn ultra ripe before eating them all is about the hardest thing you’ll need to do for this quick bread, especially if you are like me, and love bananas. The recipe itself couldn’t be more straightforward. The whole wheat adds a slightly warm, toasty flavor that works nicely with the sugary bananas. And the olive oil gives it a toehold on the savory side, while still calling the sweet side home.
It’s the kind of thing you can throw together on a lazy Sunday afternoon while playing with the baby at the same time (sit her at your feet, give her measuring spoons and banana peels to play with, ignore the mess). You’ll be glad to eat your cake for teatime snacks all week long.
Photo Credit: Olga Massov
Serves 8 to 10
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed, VERY ripe bananas (3 to 4 bananas)
1/4 cup sour cream or plain, whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9- by 5- inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, sour cream, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until dark golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Transfer the pan to a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.
5. While the cake is almost cool, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, spreading with a spatula to cover.
- Like most banana breads and nearly all sweet muffins, this is really cake in disguise. I’m calling it by its traditional designation so you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. But don’t let the recipe title fool you. Serve this for dessert or a sweet afternoon nibble.
- If you don’t like lemons, or don’t like glazes, skip the glaze. Without it, the bread will less cake-like and more classically banana bread-ish.
- Ditto for the chocolate chips. Walnuts make a traditional and nice substitute for them.
- If you want it even sweeter and more cake-like, substitute melted butter for the olive oil. Safflower and canola oil also work for a more neutral tasting cake.