If my dad’s pancakes are emblematic of childhood Saturday mornings donning an A+ bed-head and cozy slippers at the breakfast table, then my mom’s banana bread will always propel me back to those school days when I was an angsty pre-teen and never wanted to wake up.
[I’d like to think that I wasn’t actually all that angsty of a 13-year old and I always jumped out of bed when my mom came to wake me up in the morning. I also feel like that’s probably not the case, but I’ll leave that up to her to recall (…Mama?).]
Getting out of bed aside, weekday breakfast for the elementary + middle school Taylor girls varied between cereal + fruit, hot cereal or oatmeal, and hard boiled eggs + banana bread on special occasions. Leaving the house without eating breakfast was non-negotiable, a habit that has (luckily) carried over into adulthood. The hard boiled eggs + banana bread days were my favorite.
Most of my friends know how much I abhor bananas. The texture, the aftertaste, and the sound bananas make while chewing are like nails on a chalkboard for me. Want to torture me? Stick me in a car with someone eating a banana. Yes, yes, I know about the nutritional benefits but everyone has their thing, and bananas are mine.
Banana bread, though, is a completely different story. I could eat an entire loaf of this thing without pause. I don’t know if it’s because of nostalgia or what, but this bread hardly tastes banana-y and is just the perfect amount of sweetness for pre-breakfast, second lunch, afternoon snack, or midnight dinner, and all meals in between. I throw chocolate chips in because it’s a fact that mini kisses of chocolate make everything 100000x better. Also, adulthood.
My favorite part of this recipe by far, however, is the cookbook in which it lives. When I scan the cookbook shelf at my parents’ house, I can hone in on the red-and-white grid cover immediately. It opens right to this recipe, the page stained with 26+ years of grease and use, caked with flour and love. It’s fun to think about my mom baking in the early morning hours prior to school while visions of breakfast danced in our heads.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf tin or bundt pan and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat eggs into butter + sugar mixture one at a time. Add vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Sift flour into wet ingredients until just incorporated. Add bananas and mix thoroughly. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Cool for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Slice and serve alongside milky tea or strong coffee.