Memorial Day is always very important to me. Aside from its national significance and the “unofficial kick-off” to summer, it’s also my big sister’s birthday and my parent’s anniversary. Yesterday would have been Mom and Dad’s 47th wedding anniversary. I would be remiss if I didn’t celebrate the day by baking Judy’s Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf. It was her most celebrated dessert and, unbeknownst to me until now, it is very simple to make. In fact, when I was first contemplating the lofty idea of creating a blog, everyone in my family came forward and offered to guest post and begged to cook this one recipe. I couldn’t wait to finally replicate the one dessert that always had a reserved a spot in my heart and in our jammed freezer. Mom’s breads were always clearly labeled with masking tape marked with “BCC” for those “craving” emergencies when she just didn’t have the time to whip up a new loaf fast enough to satiate our desires. Whether it was partially frozen, recently thawed, or came fresh from the oven, this bread never let my taste buds down.
Every home birthday celebration, dinner party, or Sunday brunch wouldn’t be complete without serving this bread – it was conspicuous by its absence from our table. The bread even accompanied Mom’s trips to visit me in college for Parent’s Visiting Day– and that included a plane flight too. When I’d meet her at the airport, within minutes of seeing me, she’d unload her satchel bag full of random necessities and proudly bequeth to me the two solid loaves of her banana bread. Like precious pieces of china, they were always meticulously wrapped three to four times in tin foil, out of harm’s way.
We even had a corner of our kitchen next to the toaster oven that was known as the “ripening” corner. Here, severely brown over-ripened bananas would await their turn to be added to the famed bread loaf mixture. Mom would hang on to these bananas until their skin was a deep chocolaty brown and the banana was virtual mush when naked from its peel. I would always be her sous-chef on this one particular baking project. Don’t get too excited, this only meant that I would get to work the mix master AND have the opportunity to lick the beaters and bowl clean after all of the batter was poured into pans. We obviously didn’t worry as much about eating raw eggs back in the 70′s and 80′s.
What I enjoy most about attempting to cook Mom’s recipes are all of my “AHA” moments that arise during the prep. I always wondered how Mom was able to get all of the chocolate chips dispersed evenly throughout the bread without having them sink to the bottom. In her handwriting scribbled on the side of the recipe, she seemed to preach that the chocolate chips needed to be placed in a bag with one tablespoon of flour so they could get coated to make sure they wouldn’t “sink to the bottom.” These handwritten details make me feel as though she is working along side me in the kitchen, coaching me while intuitively answering my questions before they even arise. How would I know that it’s totally normal for the sour cream to foam when baking soda and baking powder are added to it?
I also learned the hard way that I have no room to question Mom; whatever she writes down in her recipes should be taken as gospel. For instance, she indicates her banana bread recipe will make two loaves. Of course I doubted her math (she was a high school math teacher for heaven’s sake) and tried to pour the entire bowl of batter into one bread loaf pan. Thank god Maddy, my nine year old, saved the day and grabbed a smaller loaf pan to catch the additional batter runoff that was about to pour over to the counter top.
Bake time. Like a child, I happily joined Maddy as we sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the oven. We turned the oven light on and licked the spatulas and mixing spoons clean as we watched it assume its familiar shape.
Not only was the bread as moist and sweet as I remember, my family devoured it in just one sitting. No need for the freezer this time around. Good thing I made that second loaf. I finally had my turn to wrap it up in foil, mark it, and place it in the freezer– just like Mom.
Judy’s Chocolate Chip banana Loaf
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs slightly beaten
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1 1/2 t baking soda
- 1pint sour cream (can use low fat sour cream)
- 3 mashed bananas
- 2 cups flour (less 1T reg flour)
- 1/4t salt
- 1t vanilla
- 2 cups chocolate chips
Makes two loaves
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Add eggs and salt and mix well.
- Dissolve baking powder and baking soda in sour cream (sour cream will begin to foam, then add to above mixture).
- Slowly add banana pulp.
- Slowly add flour.
- Add vanilla.
- Place chocolate chips in ziploc bag with remaining 1T of flour to cover chips so they won’t sink to the bottom of the loaf when they bake. Then add to mixture.
- Grease two loaf pans with butter and pour batter into both pans.
- Bake @ 350 for 90 minutes.*
*check after an hour with toothpick or skewer as some ovens bake in 1 hour.
Release from pan once cool.
Let cool on wire rack.
Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top.
This bread freezes well and tastes just as good, if not better, when it’s still a bit very cold in the center!