On New Year’s Eve, I realized that we had 14 ripe bananas in the freezer. The collection had been growing for weeks, amassing silently next to the unsalted butter and frozen peas, until one could longer open the freezer before being pelted with ice-cold, thoroughly blackened bananas. I guess I deserved it—I never eat bananas plain, so once they begin to turn spotty brown, I throw them in the freezer and forget about them, much like I do for any other kitchen item that I am at a loss as to what to do about it.
After picking up the half-dozen bananas that came crashing down on me that day, I decided that I could not enter 2014 with 14 bananas hanging over my conscience. Fortunately, frozen, nearly black bananas are the perfect ingredient for my usual banana bread recipe that I have been using for the past four years. This made nearly five batches of banana bread, but luckily I have a willing brother who has stepped up to the challenge and eaten nearly half a loaf every day this year so far.
Peeling bananas while frozen may make my hands feel like I have the beginning signs of frostbite, but it is a crucial step in the recipe. Once mashed, frozen bananas produce a creamy puree of bananas, so that the finished loaf of banana bread is sweet and moist, without recognizable pieces of banana co-mingling with the chocolate chips. The chocolate chips are not optional; no banana bread is complete without them especially if, like me, you can’t stand bananas without them.
Unlike most coffee-shop banana breads, this recipe is a wholesome baked good, not something resembling a pound cake or cupcake. The recipe is full of whole-wheat flour, flaxseed, and yogurt, so that a few toasted slices of this banana bread spread with almond butter and honey is an excellent breakfast or afternoon snack. With banana bread this good, I may keep stockpiling frozen bananas, just hopefully not 14 at a time.
Makes 1 loaf
3 very ripe frozen bananas, peeled
2 tablespoons ground flax
¼ cup water
¼ cup milk
¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten (optional, but increases the height of the loaf)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with a strip of parchment, then grease the parchment and exposed inner sides.
- Place the bananas in a large bowl and mash thoroughly. Add the flax, water, milk, yogurt, vanilla, and sugar, and mix until well combined. Add the salt, wheat gluten, baking soda, baking powder, and flour and fold gently until almost combined. Add the chocolate chips and fold until well combined and no flour streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top into an even layer. Bake in the preheat oven for 55-65 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Note: If you would like to convert this recipe into muffins. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan instead of the loaf pan, then bake the muffins for 18-25 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.