When my daughter, Annabelle, was in preschool, I hosted play dates in which her friends and their mothers would jointly attend. On one such occasion, our guests brought a dainty loaf of partially thawed whole wheat banana bread, hastily extracted from the freezer on their way out the door.
These friends explained that baking this bread was their weekly tradition. They insisted it was equally irresistible straight from the freezer, usually devoured before it had time to thaw. I cut thick pieces and sunk my teeth into a slightly frozen slice. With the allure of an ice cream sandwich, its gooey caramelized exterior gave way to a frosty banana laced center. Nothing about the bread screamed whole grain or healthy, yet it was surprisingly so.
Lucky enough to secure the recipe, I proceeded to make several versions before settling on the following recipe. It is foolproof and makes equally good bread or muffins by simply adjusting the cooking time. It freezes well, travels well, and is in high demand when friends come to play, preferably eaten straight from the freezer.
For that je ne sais quoi, I occasionally add chopped dark chocolate covered candied ginger instead of the usual dark chocolate chips.
When my turn came to provide weekly snack for Annabelle’s kindergarten class, this recipe was a no-brainer. I omitted the chocolate with the teacher’s sanity in mind and unearthed my miniature muffin tins, compliments of mom.
The result was approximately 72 bitty banana gems. Thanks to their freezer friendliness, I knocked out three morning snacks in one fell swoop.
organic whole wheat banana bread
yields 5-6 dozen miniature muffins or 6 petite loaves
7 organic ripe bananas, mashed with a potato masher or fork
3/4 C melted organic butter
3 organic eggs, beaten with fork
1 1/2 C dark brown sugar
generous splash of good vanilla
3 C organic whole wheat pastry flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 C organic unbleached wheat flour (Gold Medal)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 – 12 oz. bag chocolate chips (mini, dark, etc…), optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until incorporated but do not over mix. Add one bag of mini or regular chocolate chips, if desired.
For miniature muffins*, fill paper lined tins 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes. For regular muffins, fill lined tins 2/3 full and bake for 25-30 minutes. For mini loaves, grease and flour six miniature loaf pans and fill each about 2/3 full. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet for easier transport in and out of the oven. The loaves freeze well, wrapped in waxed paper and foil. Bread is as good when still slightly frozen.
*An easy way to fill the muffin tins: spoon batter into a clear plastic sandwich bag, seal and snip off one corner.