On days when I have leftovers in the fridge or we have dinner plans I don’t need to use my daughter’s afternoon naptime to prepare dinner. So, instead, I use the time to bake some of our favorite treats like cookies, no-knead bread and this, a true household staple, banana bread. In my household banana bread is the ultimate comfort food. We eat it year-round and I always have a stockpile of bananas in our freezer whenever I feel the need to whip up a loaf. Which is about once a week.—
I love Naptime Chef-ing banana bread for many reasons, not the least of which are that the batter is a snap to prepare, and the final product guarantees several days of snacking pleasure. Even just being in my apartment while it bakes is a treat in itself. The aroma of baking bananas and sweet spices is seductive, making the process of letting it cool before I dig in an exercise in self-restraint.
Sometimes I add cinnamon chips as a treat, giving the bread a delicious twist. I came up with this combination by accident, I was out of my usual addition of mini-chocolate chips one day and decided to use the half bag of cinnamon chips I had on hand instead. I love the way the cinnamon flavor enhances the banana, sweetening and amplifying the fruit flavor without being too overpowering.
In my opinion the best thing about this particular bread is it’s genuine banana flavor. It has a soft, tender crumb that makes it perfect for adults and children alike. In fact, this was one of my daughter’s first solid foods. These days when I bake it during naptime it has usually cooled sufficiently to be eaten by the time she wakes up. I cut her a warm slice and she eats it with a thin layer cream cheese for her afternoon snack.
Banana Bread with Cinnamon Chips
adapted from an old handwritten recipe from my mother and grandmother
8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
1 t. good vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed (I mash them in a bowl with a fork)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. Cinnamon chips or mini-chocolate chips (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350%uFFFDF. Butter and flour a standard 9×5 loaf pan*.
2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream butter and sugar until fully combined. Add eggs and vanilla extract, mix well. Add mashed bananas, mix again until everything is completely combined.
3. In a separate bowl mix flour, soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and cinnamon chips. Stir this mixture a few times and make sure the chips are fully coated with flour.
4. With the mixer on low, stir flour mixture into egg mixture bit by bit until the flour is just incorporated.The batter may still be a little lumpy from the bananas, this is normal.
5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, carefully remove it from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack before serving.
*If you want smaller loafs divide the batter into smaller loaf pans, or mini loaf pans.
Freezer Tips: This bread freezes well. If you want to save it for later simply wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Then wrap it again with an outer layer of aluminum foil. Make sure none of the bread is exposed to air. It will last in the freezer for 2-4 months.
Naptime Recipe Props: Banana bread goes with just about anything. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dessert. I have even grilled it before – it is delicious this way!
Naptime Stopwatch: The batter preparation takes a brief 5 minutes. Baking time is about 50 minutes. While it is baking take care of other things around the house.
Naptime Reviews: Banana bread is a regular part of my daughter’s diet, she can never get enough these days. While this is a traditional comfort food, I have served it to guests as well. It is great for serving at playgroup, taking to a potluck, or bringing to new parents in need of some homemade baked goods.