Gingery Banana Bread

April 30, 2009

Speckled bananas, ripe for banana bread

Speckled bananas, ripe for banana bread

Crystallized ginger, the secret ingredient

Crystallized ginger, the secret ingredient

Lumpy batter, ready for pan

Lumpy batter, ready for pan

When life gives you old, spotted bananas, make banana bread!

Over the years I’ve come to rely on two trusted banana bread recipes.  One was my Mom’s recipe, and the other came from a Gold Medal Flour cookbook for children called Alpha-Bakery Children’s Cookbook  ( 

But this year I found another great banana bread recipe in Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table.  The secret ingredients in Molly’s recipe are crystallized ginger and chocolate — an outstanding taste combination.  I’ll be adding this recipe to my repertoire.

You can find this recipe in Molly’s blog, Orangette, at  I’ve copied it here for you:

Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or a chopped chocolate bar)
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (from about 3 large ripe bananas)
1/4 cup well-stirred whole-milk plain yogurt (not lowfat or nonfat)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Set a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a standard-sized (about 9 by 5 inches) loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.

In a small bowl, microwave the butter until just melted. (Take care to do this on medium power and in short bursts; if the heat is too high, butter will sometimes splatter or explode.  Or, alternatively, put the butter in a heatproof bowl and melt in the preheated oven.) Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla and stir to mix well. (The same fork works fine for this.) Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick and somewhat lumpy, but there should be no unincorporated flour. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top.
Bake until the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then tip it out onto the rack, and let it cool completely before slicing–unless you absolutely can’t help yourself, in which case, dig in. 

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Warm slices

Warm slices




3 Responses to “Gingery Banana Bread”

  1. Lynne Says:

    Thanks for the inspirational photos and recipe – I have two bananas ready to be made into banana bread. I usually make the recipe in The Joy of Cooking, with lemon extract; sometimes we top it with gently whipped cream and strawberries. It will be fun to try something new!

  2. Carol Says:

    I’ll be your taste tester on this recipe anytime!

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