Bluegrass-Saturday-In-May Banana Bread
If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you may forget that I sometimes post recipes. Yes, what started as a way for me to show off what I cook turned into a way to show off everything I eat, and I think that’s great! I love sharing my city with you and helping you discover new places to eat, new places to travel, new ways to make memories.
But sometimes, it’s good to go back to basics and think about why you started doing something. For me, I started this blog because I wanted to get people around me interested in cooking and baking, and show that it’s not as scary as people tend to think that it is. So in the spirit of that, I have a new recipe for you all today! This couldn’t be easier, because it uses the same basic recipe for banana bread that I’ve used in my Piña Colada and Apple Cinnamon versions. One of my favorite things is taking a simple recipe and seeing how many times I can add to and take from it to make something completely different. And to be honest, I think I hit on a real winner with this one!
So, what’s with the name of this bread? If you know anything about Kentucky, you probably know that we have a favorite pie that we serve to accompany a certain famous horse race. What you might not know is that the makers of that pie are very protective of the closely-guarded recipe and name. So much so, that you absolutely cannot make a variation and call it the same thing, because it’s a copyright infringement! Thus, this banana bread is made to celebrate the flavor of a year-round treat that happens to spike in popularity in the Bluegrass on a certain Saturday in May. Chocolate, pecans, the subtle flavor and moisture that bananas lend to the whole thing; what’s not to love?
The key to getting the perfect flavor in this banana bread is to toast your pecan pieces before adding them to the batter. Toasting nuts brings out the full flavor profile, as they begin to release their flavor-rich oils. Without toasting, you just have an added crunchy texture with not much flavor. I even find raw nuts to be a little bitter, but toasting them brings out all of the goodness we know and love. Just make sure to use a dry pan, keep them moving frequently, and don’t let them burn!
Despite the name, this banana bread can (and should!) be enjoyed all throughout the year. Make it for company, for bake sales, or just when you want a slice of homebaked goodness on a rainy Sunday. Just make sure you call it by its name! Happy baking!
Bluegrass-Saturday-In-May Banana Bread
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick, softened)
- 2 eggs
- 3 overripe bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup pecan halves (chopped)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Start by toasting the pecan halves in a dry pan over medium-low heat. Toss and stir frequently, being careful not to let them burn. They are done toasting when they smell nutty but not burnt, about 5-10 minutes depending on your heat level. Remove from the heat when done and set to the side to cool.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x5 loaf tin. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda until well combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, bananas, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients you mixed earlier, stirring until no dry pockets of flour remain.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and with a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and cooled pecan pieces until everything is evenly incorporated. Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes up clean of batter (if you hit a pocket of chocolate, try again). Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish the cooling process. Enjoy by itself or warm with a bit of butter spread on it if you're feeling dangerous!