Just so everyone knows, I've been a really good girl over the last few weeks. I've been watching my calorie intake and exercising bunches. On days when the weather's been pleasant, I've been getting out for long walks and jogs. I even busted out the Zumba dvd set that's been collecting dust on my bookshelf since last June and did a little salsa dancing!
My son is an avid swimmer who dreams of being on a swim team and my two-year old has shown the indisputable signs of being a water-loving, little fishy too. This means that whether I like it or not, swimsuit season is looming for me. I have to be ready to look decent while panicking and chasing a wild toddler around the pool in just a couple of months!
I've also been making lots of healthy smoothies as meal replacement drinks and last week I accidentally bought way too much fruit. So, thanks to some sorely neglected bananas in my fruit bowl, I had a reason to cheat on my diet just a teensy bit and bake this yummy, sweet bread! I mean, it would be bad form to just let them to go to waste, right?
Now, I've made simple banana bread many times before, but this time I'll admit I took a slightly renegade approach and threw in a few sinful extras that were in my pantry. My aching sweet tooth has been very well-behaved lately, so I decided to let loose a bit here. I'm so happy I did because combining chocolate chips and pecan pieces with such a richly-flavored, banana bread created a wickedly delicious little treat!
I just made these loaves yesterday and this bread is proving to be a short-lived distraction; one loaf is completely gone and the other has already been sliced! So, this means I'll get right back to my healthy smoothies, steamed veggies, grilled chicken breast, and merengue dancing in no time. Sigh.
When I bake sweet breads, I prefer them to be a bit on the short and squatty side, so I typically use 9x4 inch pans. For more traditional, tall, perfect, little loaves you will need to use 8x4 inch pans, which is the size I list in the recipe.
Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips & Pecans
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas (3 large or 4-5 med), mashed (don't be lazy. mash 'em good...no lumps!!)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tsp of each, brown and white sugar, combined for topping the loaves
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Prepare two 8x4-inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the mashed banana with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, eggs and lemon juice.
4. Using a wooden spoon to stir, add flour mixture to the banana mixture. Stir until everything is just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and pecan pieces.
5. Pour into loaf pans, filling each about half-way up. Sprinkle a teaspoon of white and brown sugar on top of each filled pan.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and then remove from the pans. Cool loaves completely on racks before slicing.
7. Serve with butter and enjoy!