Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pecan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

The only problem that I have with loaf cakes/breads is in choosing the pan size. I tend to prefer using my 8x4 inch pan because I like the higher rise, but the 9x5 inch size is slightly more common and I often feel pressured to write my recipes for that particular pan. Pressure or no, however, I usually just go ahead and use the pan I like, simply indicating the size instead of changing the recipe around. All that said, this time I did opt to use the larger, slightly wider pan for my loaf.
This recipe is a twist on my standard recipe for banana bread, with a little bit more butter and loads of chocolate chips and pecans. Normally I'm not one for nuts in my baked goods, but here the pecans add a nice textural contrast with the chocolate chips. The bread is best when it is toasted and topped with butter or cream cheese, but if you prefer to eat it untoasted, you might want to keep it well wrapped overnight to make sure it is at its moistest when you go to eat it.
Because the pan makes the bread thinner than it might ordinarily be, it will cook more quickly and there is a greater chance of the bread overcooking. Make sure to check it with a toothpick and take it out of the oven as soon as it is done. I would check it a couple of minutes early, just in case your oven runs on the hot side.

Pecan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 medium-sized, ripe bananas, mashed (about ¾-1 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9x5-in loaf pan
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. When light and fluffy, beat in egg, followed by mashed banana and vanilla extract. Blend in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
Bake for about 45 minutes at 350F, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Cool on a rack in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn loaf out of pan and let cool completely before slicing.
Serve toasted, with butter and/or cream cheese. Store well in an airtight container (or plastic wrap).
Serve 8-10.