Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Browned Butter Banana Bread with Crystallized Ginger and Chocolate

Growing up, the only form of bread my Chinese family made on a regular basis was banana bread.

Fancy banana bread with ginger and chocolate

When our mom passed away, we all found ourselves in the kitchen making food for each other while our dad was working crazy shifts either driving a bus or running community education classes in the evening. We all picked up cooking pretty quickly, but baking was a challenge.

I remember trying to make French bread with my sisters and it just didn't work out. What do you expect from a bunch of kids who all could make rice like a champ (in a rice cooker, of course)?!? Our bread never did rise--we were good at killing yeast.

Me and my crazy siblings

But banana bread--we could make that. It was pretty simple. We always had a couple of bananas that were a little too ripe. Plus, it didn't involve yeast.

There's no way we could mess it up.

We made a basic banana bread. It was good and sweet. I can't remember where we got the recipe, but I think we used our mom's stained copy of the Better Homes and Garden cookbook.

I discovered this recipe a few years ago from Molly Wizenberg and fell in love with it, because it reminded me of the banana bread we made when we were kids. Even better though is that it has a little bit of an Asian flavor with the addition of crystallized ginger.

Go Asians!

Crystallized ginger = fancy and unexpected

Oh, and did I mention it has chocolate in it?

Go Oompa Loompas!

Let's add some dark chocolate chips, m'kay?

And when you brown the butter, it adds a deeper flavor and a little nuttiness without adding nuts. It seems like the ginger is brighter against the browned butter.

Beautiful, beautiful crust

I've got to be honest though, it takes a long time to bake. I put a loaf into the oven once thinking I had plenty of time and realized I had to pick up Lee at work about when I was supposed to take it out--oops! He had to wait a little bit. That's poor party planning on my part.

Besides stranding your husband at work, you get this dark amber crust and your home smells like you've been baking all day. Lee forgave me for when he walked in the door.

 I heart ginger + chocolate

So, got any bananas lying around?

Browned Butter Banana Bread with Crystallized Ginger and Chocolate
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

6 tbsp unsalted butter, browned
2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 c finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c mashed banana
1/4 c sour cream (full fat)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard-sized loaf pan with cooking spray.

Brown butter and set aside to cool. Here's a great resource on how to brown butter.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and ginger and whisk together. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs lightly using a fork. Add the mashed banana, sour cream, browned butter, and vanilla, and stir well with that same fork.

Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and combine ingredients using a rubber spatula, making sure not to over-mix. The mixture will be lumpy, but all ingredients should be wet. Scrap the batter into the greased loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a inserted toothpick comes out clean. I would recommend not disturbing it  for at least 60 minutes because it may sink in the middle. There is a lot of moisture in this loaf, so make sure to let it cook completely or it will come out doughy in the middle.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in a pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely.

It's hecka good, promise.

1 comment:

  1. I don't have any bananas lying around, but I'm certainly going to pick up some on my way home!


What's that you say?