Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Cake By Any Other Name...

On a stop light green means go and yellow means slow down, but on a banana it's just the opposite. Green means hold on, yellow means go ahead, and red means 'where the f&%# did you get that banana at'?

— Mitch Hedberg

Ha. "Bread". Banana bread is bread in the same way that sweetbreads are breads. Or sweetmeats are meats. We're not even talking about chances here. This snowball doesn't have a certain probability of surviving hell. This snowball is already a puddle in the fiery depths.

And since there's no use prevaricating about the bush (as Wallace likes to say), I choose to dive in head first. Bread? Bah. Would you like some chocolate chips with that cake you're eating? Why, yes, thank you. I think I would.

But bread or not, banana bread is one of my favorite treats. I was reading about using extra-black bananas the other day, and it sparked a great craving for banana bread. Soft, warm, and gooey, with lots of chocolate chips. Mmm. This particular recipe was a staple with my dorm mates in college. I can personally recommend it as one of the finest known methods for surviving late-night problem sets.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 cups mashed ripe banana (4 large bananas)
4 eggs
2-3 generous cups chocolate chips

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 medium (8½-inch) loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, stir and toss together the flour and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until blended; a hand-held mixer is useful for this step. Beat in the banana, then beat in the eggs until completely mixed. Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled. Add the combined dry ingredients and stir until just blended, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread evenly in the 2 prepared pans. Bake until a thin wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean, 55-65 minutes. Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, and serve!

Makes 2 medium loaves; about 20 slices.

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