A recipe for wholesome olive oil banana bread made with whole wheat flour and lots of bittersweet chocolate chips. Jump to recipe.
It’s been a trying week. The list of trials is long on the mundane but the presence of some heavy stuff too is enough to keep me in the moment. Enough to make me realize that needing to get the car towed, breaking a major appliance, having a kid home sick with pink eye, or even all three, are actually pretty great problems to have.
The shorter version is: this weekend everything broke and we got some health news about a loved one, and either despite all that or because of it, we’re incredibly fortunate to be muddling through such a rich life.
In tough times like these, I always get a little perspective – oddly enough – by talking with my older daughter. I try to be (mostly) honest with her about the world – illness, misfortunes great and small, death – you name it. I hoped that confronting the scary things in the world would make it her feel less afraid. But it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. Like her mother, she’s sentimental as hell. Still,these tough discussions push us to think about what it all means and we’ve come to understand that the highs of life, the beauty, and all the really good stuff are only as good as they are because nothing is forever.
How’s that for a banana bread intro?
The turmoil of the past few days sent me running to the kitchen at the first chance. It rained all day yesterday, but even so, the birds were out doing their inexplicable bird things – mainly chirping madly and flitting around. It made a picturesque backdrop for cradling multiple mugs of coffee in my hands, staring out the window, and baking up a loaf of banana bread between bursts of painting, reading, and taking care of my exuberant, if red-eyed, little one.
Wherever this recipe finds you, I hope it will bring joy or comfort, because we all need a bit of that sometimes.
This olive oil banana bread is a take on my go-to recipe, with wholesome additions like whole wheat pastry flour and not as healthy ones like a whole mess of bittersweet chocolate. The recipe below fits a standard 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. I have only an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch one and so I poured the extra batter into a couple of greased ramekins and pulled them from the oven after 45 - 50 minutes.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup turbinado sugar plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate wafers or very rough chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ripe bananas, lightly mashed (1 1/2 cups banana mash)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease the sides of a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flours, 3/4 cup sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt. Fold in chocolate wafers.
In a large bowl, stir to combine olive oil, yogurt, orange zest, eggs, and vanilla. Fold in mashed bananas.
Fold flour mixture into wet ingredients, stirring just until flour is mixed in.
Spoon batter into prepared baking dish, sprinkle top with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and slide into oven. Bake 50 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached and the top is golden brown. Keep a close eye toward the end of cook time so as not to over bake.
Cool 20 minutes, release from baking dish and cool completely or eat right away. Tightly covered, banana bread will keep several days at room temperature.