I have a no banana left behind rule.
Now, know that I’m not the one actually buying/eating the bananas (Taylor is), but any banana that gets too soft and speckled for his liking (which, seeing as he likes his bananas on the green side, is pretty much after the appearance of that first spot) is my domain. He’s good about only buying the amount of bananas he can eat before the next trip to the store, but occasionally I’ll discover a few spotty bananas on the hutch, which I take as a subtle hint from him that he’d like some banana bread, please.
Usually that means his favorite double chocolate banana bread (my favorite too), but this time I decided to mix it up a little bit, taking out the cocoa (I know, what has gotten in to me?) and adding peanut butter. Rest assured, I left the chocolate chips in there (because no banana bread is complete without them, if I’m being honest).
You know what else would be awesome? Combining the two recipes. Because double chocolate peanut butter banana bread sounds out of this world. And (knowing that Taylor reads this) I would not be surprised if he intentionally sacrifices a few bananas this week just so I’ll bake him a loaf.
Don’t be mistaken, this does not taste like a peanut butter cookie. I didn’t want the peanut butter to overwhelm the banana, and so didn’t overload it. The flavor is subtle, but it’s there, complimenting the banana on her delightful smile like a true Southern gentleman.
Banana bread (even one with chocolate chips) is not like a chocolate chip cookie or even a brownie: slightly undercooking it is not a good thing (it’ll sink in on itself and have an undesirable gummy texture). At the same time, dry banana bread is arguably just as bad. It’s because of this tricky tightrope that it has taken me a while to come up with a reliable banana bread base that bakes thoroughly and evenly but is still moist and tender.
The key to hitting the sweet spot is testing your banana bread with a long wooden skewer. Poke it down right in the middle of the bread after about 45-50 minutes in the oven. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs then it’s done and you should take it out immediately, regardless of what the timer says. If it still has some gooey or gummy batter on the skewer, give it a few more minutes and test it again. The top will get deeply golden, but you can always tent it with foil if it gets too dark for your liking.
I also like to line my baking pans with parchment paper, just a strip that covers the long sides and the bottom. The short sides are easy enough to release with a knife, and then you can lift out the entire loaf using the parchment paper as a sling. Trust me, nothing is worse than a loaf of perfect banana bread that refuses to come out of the pan. Ok, maybe I can think of a few things worse, but it’s still disappointing. Especially when it is so easily preventable with just a piece of parchment.
- 1 3/4 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed (3/4 cup mashed)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper (cut a 9-inch wide strip of parchment and press it into the pan, covering the bottom and sides, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang on the long edges; it’s ok if the short ends are left unlined so long as they are buttered).
- In a large bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- Mash bananas in a bowl until mostly smooth (the riper your bananas, the easier they will be to mash). You should have about 3/4 cup. Whisk in eggs, then add sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
- Place butter and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds or until warm; stir until butter is melted and smooth. Stir in to banana mixture.
- Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and whisk until just incorporated and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a long skewer or thin metal knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Place pan on a wire cooling rack and let cool to lukewarm. To remove, run a thin metal spatula along the short (unlined) sides of the pan. Use the overhanging parchment to gently lift the entire loaf out of the pan and place on a cutting board to slice and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.