I discovered my love for the warm buttery goodness of banana bread following a trip to New York City. I was staying with my stepmom’s mother, Fania Stone, then in her eighties; still going to work everyday as a textile designer, with silver-white hair cut in a stylish pixie. She was a delight and quick as a whip on walks to the Farmers Market at Union Square. We used to walk there on the weekends from her apartment in Gramercy Park to get our fruits and vegetables.
Fania was an avid reader, an eloquent pianist and painter. Her foyer was filled with books. Amidst the novels and art books was a small little cook book. In it I found the recipe for Banana Nut Bread. I baked it for us weekly and we enjoyed it each night with a little butter on one slice coupled with a hot cup of tea over a highly competitive game of Scrabble. I learned so much from her about art, culture, music, literature and good wholesome food. My time with Fania will stay in my heart indelibly as a precious and momentous life experience.
Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit – adding a little hint of vanilla, lemon or some other variation of spice or fruit depending on the season, my mood or just what I had on hand in the kitchen that day.
Today’s recipe was made with a bit of chocolate and some rich vanilla and coconut. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Chocolate Banana Nut Bread
Pre-heat oven to 325
3 Ripe Bananas
1 Cup Sugar
4 Tablespoons Melted Butter (salted)
2 Tablespoons Virgin Coconut Oil
1 1/2 Cups Flower
3 Teaspoons of Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chunks
Mix all wet ingredients in larger bowl
Mix dry ingredients in smaller bowl
Fold dry into wet ingredients
Grease and flour large bread loaf pan or 2 small pans
Pour batter into pan(s)
Bake for 1 hour
Check with toothpick in the center to make sure it is cooked all the way through. Toothpick should come out clean.
What I did with the recipe today was divide it into two smaller loaf pans and checked them at 45 minutes and 55 minutes. I took them out as soon as the toothpicks came out clean (a little under an hour).
Fall is one of those seasons that conjures up images of warm cable-knit sweaters, brown leather boots, and things that I just want to cuddle up with. My children, a good movie or a great book; or my boyfriend, a warm fire and some great music; either way this cookie is an excellent companion to either night in.
Here is my take on the traditional Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. Instead of using raisins, I chop up succulent dried French Apricots and add them to my batch. The color is a rich amber gold and the texture is both chewy and sweet, which complement the crispy edges of the oatmeal cookie. This particular batch was made specifically for my sweetheart. He and I both love dried apricots in just about anything. A batch of these are the perfect gift for your host with the most this Thanksgiving.
Show up with these and guests just might forget about the pumpkin pie.
• 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick plus 6 tbsp.) at room-temperature
• 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 2 eggs (or egg substitute of 1 tbsp. cornstarch & 2 tbsp. water per egg)
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 cups of quick or old-fashioned, uncooked Oats
• 1 cup chopped dried French Apricots
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
• 1 1/2 cups large dark chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In a large glass bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed or by hand until creamy and well blended
2. Add eggs and vanilla; continue to beat ingredients until mixed well
3. In a separate smaller bowl, mix flour, baking soca, cinnamon and salt; mix well, combining all ingredients and working out any lumps in the flour. Add combined mixture to wet ingredients and mix well.
4. Add apricots, walnuts and chips; mix well
5. Add oats and continue to mix all well together
6. Drop dough by by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. I will also set aside half my batter and roll into waxed paper to freeze; thawing and cutting into 1/2 inch circular slices and baking.
7. Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack or flattened brown paper bag . I like to let them cool very little and enjoy them while the chocolate is still oozing and warm.
8. Store in a tightly closed container. Makes about 4 dozen delicious cookies.
Something else to try:
At Christmas time I like change the cookie recipe up with dried cranberries and cocoa powder. In the next month or so I will post a picture of those with the slight variation of the recipe.