Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day, Me Say Day O!

Day-O (Banana Boat Song) by Harry Belafonte
Songs about bananas are few but, dang, when you need one, there is NONE better than this one!  And it goes very well with this banana bread recipe because it's kind of a slinky song.  You know, the kind that makes you want to move around in a bendy, twisty way - while eating a slice of this bread.  Not necessarily in a bite after bite fashion, mind you.  You'll take a bite, then pluck out a chunk of the candied ginger, savor that with a smile, maybe take another bite, then go after a little piece of chocolate.  M-m-m-m!  It's all about savoring - and slinky dancing - and enjoying the talents of Mr. Belafonte!

I sometimes feel like the banana boat worker in this song.  My family loves bananas, and I'm always buying them, but we go in these weird cycles where suddenly the banana consumption just stops!  Of course, I've just hauled home an "eight foot bunch" when we hit one of these mysterious lulls and, before you know it, I have bananas that are too ripe for anyone to want to eat, as is.

This used to send me into a panic - "Now, what am I going to do with all these bananas?!"  Then I discovered that you can easily freeze them.  Just throw them in a storage bag and toss them in the freezer.  They look nasty because the skins have turned black but, inside, they are perfect for whatever you're baking.  Let's be clear, though, that these bananas are just overripe, not rotten!

Yesterday I was looking around my kitchen and spied the last two bananas that were in the perfect condition for baking!  The weather outside made it a great day to be inside baking and a quick check of my pantry let me know that it was going to be a banana bread day!

I found this recipe years ago on Orangette and only tried it because she raved about it so much.  I'd never had candied ginger before and my mind instantly linked it to that dried candied fruit of fruitcake notoriety.    But, something about how she described it made me want to try it.  And, boy, am I glad I did!  This bread is nothing at all like fruitcake!  Chocolate and ginger and bananas are MFEO!  (For non-Sleepless In Seattle fans that means 'made for each other'.)

This recipe started my 'candied ginger love' and I've been putting it in anything that'll take it since!  It's especially good in my granola!  But this bread is what started it all.  Ms. Wizenberg also included the recipe in her book, A Homemade Life, which is such a wonderful read - it's a story book and cook book in one.  Love it!

This recipe also bakes into wonderful muffins - just so you know!

And now, I'm going to go enjoy a breakfast of this wonderful bread then watch Sleepless In Seattle with my daughter - because there's no going outside today, folks!

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Candied Ginger
ever so slightly adapted from Glenn's Banana Bread recipe from Orangette
Printable Recipe Card
1 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 ripe bananas
1/4 c. milk
2 c. (274 g) flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. kosher salt
1 c. chocolate chips
handful of candied ginger, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x5 loaf pan or prepare muffin tin with spray or paper liners.  It'll make about 6 muffins.

Cream the butter and sugar together in mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk to blend well.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the milk.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture in three parts alternately with the banana mixture in two parts in this fashion:

Add half the flour mixture, stir until just starting to incorporate.
Add half the banana mixture, stir until just incorporated.
Add half of the remaining flour, stir in like manner.
Add the remaining banana mixture, stir.
Add the remaining flour mixture, stir.

Stir in the chips and ginger pieces and lightly stir to distribute.

Spread batter in loaf pans or muffin tins and bake.  Loaves will cook for one hour.  Muffins for about 20 - 30 minutes.  Let cool, then remove from pan to continue cooling.


  1. Looks yummy, Janice! I can't say I have had candied ginger, ever, so I am not sure I would like this in Banana bread.

    1. I'm pretty confident you will! Like I said, I'd never had it before I made this bread either. Wasn't even sure what I was looking for. I found it in the health food section at Yokes. Not only did I discover I loved it in this bread, I love it to just snack on. Not a lot of it - it packs a punch - but just a nibble. And it's supposed to be good for an upset tummy, too! Try it!

  2. My favorite new use for the random pause in excessive banana consumption? Banana sauce. I roast them in the oven until the peel is black. Then I carefully plop them into the blender with 1 TB water per banana, and puree it till it's smooth. Seriously. Applesauce? Fuggeddaboutit. Of course, I originally did this for Miss Ada, but I sneaked a taste because I always did when I was feeding W his out of the jar--his bananas were always my favorite. Obviously, the puree goes brown so I'm thinking of adding a bit of lemon/orange juice so it looks a little more tempting. YUM.