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Candied ginger gives banana bread zingfits

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    Banana Bread With Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger.
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Because I find myself with overripe bananas regularly, our family eats a lot of banana bread.

The freezer also has become sort of a halfway house for wayward overripe bananas.

But if you like to cook (and I do) and you hate throwing food away (again, me), then overripe bananas are a gift, a gateway ingredient to something delicious.

This particular banana bread came about because I have a big thing for crystallized ginger.

My father’s father introduced me to it when I was a kid. He adored it, and even though he was born in Brooklyn in 1903, he was somehow attuned to the fact that ginger is a healthful ingredient, which in those days was not something widely known outside of Eastern cultures.

Bernie Workman, ahead of his time.

He would have loved this bread, studded with nuggets of chewy sweet ginger and bits of melted semisweet chocolate.

Banana Bread With Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger

» 2 cups all-purpose flour
» 1 teaspoon baking soda
» 1/2 teaspoon salt
» 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
» 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
» 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
» 3/4 cup sugar
» 2 large eggs
» 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
» 2 large very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 cup mashed)
» 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or coat with cooking spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

In small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in chocolate and ginger.

In large bowl, use electric mixer to beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla. Blend in mashed bananas and sour cream.

Switch to a wooden spoon and add flour mixture, in batches, to wet mixture, mixing just until each addition is incorporated. At the end the batter should be barely blended (it will be thick).

Transfer to prepared loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted at the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes, then turn loaf out and finishing cooling upright on wire rack. Serves 12.

Nutrition information per serving: 290 calories, 12 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 23 g sugar, 5 g protein

Variation: This recipe also makes great banana muffins. Line 12 regular muffin tins with paper liners. Fill them evenly with the batter, about three-quarters of the way full. Bake 23 to 27 minutes, or until the muffins spring back when pressed lightly at the center. Let them sit in the tins on wire racks for 5 minutes, then gently turn them out and cool them upright on the rack. Eat warm or at room temperature.

Equipment note: If you use a glass loaf pan versus metal, you might need a few extra minutes of baking time.

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