Family Classics is a series that features some of the classic recipes I grew up with, slightly adapted to adhere to my current pescatarian, dairy-free diet. Say hello to all the flavors of nostalgia!
I’ve had a luxurious three weeks at home before my last and final semester of business school begins, and baking up two hefty loaves of this childhood favorite was a perfect afternoon activity in between…well, eating and more eating. And planning and baking and long walks and meeting up with old/new friends. And watching BABIES EATING LEMONS HOW DID I JUST FIND THIS. All in all, a solidly relaxing and rejuvenating break. How has your new year been treating you?
I asked my siblings for help in coming up with ideas for this series and banana bread! was unanimous, instantaneous from both. Fitting, since it was probably the recipe my mom baked the most as we were growing up. For me, it conjures up a kitchen enveloped in a warm haze of buttery banana scent and toasted nuts (even though we abhored the nut-topped loaves as kids and always pleaded for a just-plain chocolate chip loaf), leftovers kept moist and plush in a deep orange container and barely crisp, toasted slices for breakfast.
In my years of baking away from my mom’s plastic roladex of handwritten recipes, I’ve found that Smitten Kitchen’s zucchini bread recipe is nearly identical to this recipe except that this recipe bumps up the vanilla to a full tablespoon, omits the nutmeg, and REQUIRES chocolate chips–they’re practically a birthright in banana bread in my family. The original recipe calls for a full cup of oil and 2 cups of sugar, but I find that subbing in almond milk for a portion of oil leaves it just as moist and delicious as I remember, and cutting down on the sugar leaves more room for the chocolate chips to shine. If you’d like to halve the recipe, I’ve made this successfully using only one egg and subbing 1/2 tablespoon of flax or chia seeds with 1.5 tablespoons of water for the “half egg.”
Ironically, we have never used this recipe for anything other than banana bread, but the good friend and neighbor who gave my mom this recipe listed a bunch of other ingredients you can use as add-ins in place of banana–from A to Z, the ingredients range from apples to eggplant to peaches to zucchini.
…I think carrot will probably be my next adventure. I’ll leave the eggplant to you–let me know how it turns out, will you?
- 3 cups flour (I like 2 cups all-purpose, 1 cup whole wheat)
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups A-Z ingredient (see below)*
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable or olive oil
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 3 eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Mix dry ingredients (flour through salt) together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until fully combined, then fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into two well-greased loaf pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes, or until inserted tester comes out clean.
*A-Z ingredients can include 2 cups of the following:
- apples (grated)
- apricots (chopped)
- bananas (mashed)
- carrots (grated)
- cherries (pitted and chopped)
- dates (pitted and chopped finely)
- eggplant (ground up)
- figs (chopped finely)
- seedless grapes
- honey (omit sugar)
- lemons (1/2 cup juice)
- marmalade (use only 1 cup and omit sugar)
- oranged (chopped)
- peaches, fresh or canned (chopped)
- pumpkin puree
- zucchini (grated—do not peel; cut out center)