Quickbreads: Banana Bread with Chocolate and Walnuts

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Quickbreads: Banana Bread with Chocolate and Walnuts

Homemade Banana Bread

Flour selection plays an important role in flavor and texture of your baked goods. For our banana bread recipe we chose to use cake flour for its softness, resulting in a tender texture. The quick bread relies mainly on eggs, baking powder, and baking soda to leaven the batter and create the perfect lift to our baking bread. We cream our eggs with sugar before combining the mixture with the other wet and dry ingredients.

Cake Flour

To ensure a successful baked good and to create the flavor and texture you desire, it is very important to consider the type of flour or blends of flours for use in recipes. Cake flour is considered soft flour. It is made from soft flour and has a low protein content, around 8%. The low protein content provides the tender crumb or texture.

Eggs

In addition to adding flavor and color to our banana bread, eggs add moisture to our baked goods as eggs are about 75% water in weight. The fat in the egg yolks shortens gluten strands helping to achieve the tender texture we desire.

Once the sugar and butter have been creamed to a light pale fluffy consistency, eggs are added to the mixture one at a time and beaten with our mixer until thoroughly incorporated and the mixture is creamy.

Chemical Leaveners

Baking soda reacts immediately with the acids in our batter to create bubbles, thickening our batter and forcing our banana bread to rise. Baking soda does not require the heat of the oven to start the leavening process.

Baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and acids. Baking powder begins to work the moment in comes in contact with moisture in our batter. This chemical reaction creates carbon dioxide bubbles. Most baking powders are double-acting, providing instant lift when combined with moisture in the batter, and additional lift when in the presence of heat in our preheated oven.

The Creaming Method

The butter in our recipe shortens the gluten strands in our cake flour providing a tender final baked good. By creaming our butter with the sugar, small pockets of air are created in our batter. The pockets of air expand as the bread is baked, and work in combination with the chemical leaveners in our recipe to create lift and a perfect cakelike banana bread.

The sugar and softened butter are added a mixing bowl and stirred together until well combined. An electric hand mixer is employed to beat the sugar and butter until the mixture is pale yellow in color and tiny air pockets have been created throughout the sugar and butter mixture.

Bringing it All Together

We prepare our batter ingredients in three separate bowls. Dry ingredients along with our add-ins chocolate chips and finely chopped walnuts in one bowl. Bananas mashed and combined with milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in another. Finally, we cream the butter with sugar and eggs before combining them all together and baking. Creaming the butter, sugar, and eggs together is an important step to achieve the tender final product we desire. We add the banana mixture to the creamed butter mixture and stir with a large spoon or spatula just until combined. We add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold them in with large strokes to avoid over mixing. The more we mix, the more gluten develops and the chewier our banana bread becomes.

Banana Bread with Chocolate and Walnuts
Light, cake like banana bread batter comes together in 10 minutes. Fresh, hot bakery style treat features bananas, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate chips, and finely chopped walnuts. Delicious sliced thin and served plain or toasted and spread with softened butter.

Ingredients
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.
  2. Add cake flour, baking powder baking soda and fine sea salt to medium bowl. Stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and finely chopped walnuts. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Stir in the milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  4. Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add the banana mixture to the creamed butter mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing. Bread is delicious straight from the pan, but even better after 24 hours.

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