Olive Oil Banana Bread with Pecans and Chocolate

When you work at a high end restaurant you have to have everything available at all times. I once worked at a restaurant that required me to make ceasar dressing from scratch every 3 days in case someone came in and ordered a caesar salad, a dish that was assuredly not on the menu. This always struck me as a bit wasteful, but that’s the way it is in fine dining. You have to be prepared.

A couple of years ago, when I worked at a high end resort, it was the exact same, but much trickier because, as we were on a remote island, you had to order everything in advance and usually in huge quantities. One such thing was bananas. They weren’t on the menu, but if someone wanted a banana with their yoghurt in the morning we had to be prepared. I think we were asked twice in 6 months for a banana.

The real problem with this was that we could only order them in in 20kL boxes.

So every two weeks 20 kilos would come in, and somehow I was in charge of dealing with them. Lord knows why.

Fact: I hate bananas. Like, seriously, truly hate bananas. I hate their texture, I hate their taste, and I hate the way they smell. They are, indesputably,the worst fruit.

My theory on this hatred is that I got strep throat to often as a kid, and as such had to take too much banana flavoured liquid penicilin. But that is just a theory, and I know people who loved that medicine when they were little. I was not one of those people.

So when I realized that part of my job description was to cook up something with that many bananas every, well, let’s just say I was less than pleased.

But here’s another fact. I love cooked bananas. Everything I hate about them raw becomes a totally different thing when they are cooked up. When they are mixed with sugar and flour and scented with cinnamon they are just about the best things ever.

I have made a lot of banana breads in my life, so many when I was at the resort in fact, that at the end of the season everyone on staff (all 60 people!) got to go home with a banana loaf that I had frozen. It was a bit nuts.

I’ve made ones with chocolate, ones with nuts, ones with icing, ones with crispy bits of brown sugar in the center. But I had never tried making it without butter, until now. I’m never going back guys. Olive oil is the perfect tamer for banana bread.

This is my new standard banana bread recipe, it is the moistest, softest, most beautifully flavoured banana bread I have ever made.

Olive Oil Banana Bread with Chocolate and Pecans

2 cups AP Flour

3/4 cup Brown Sugar

3/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

3/4 cup Toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 large Eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas

1/3 cup Yoghurt, or buttermilk

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract. 

Preheat your oven to 350F

Butter and flour a baking pan, I used a bundt pan, but you could easily use a loaf pan. 

In a large bowl mix together the oil and sugar.

Stir in the eggs one at a time until they are totally incorporated.

Add in the bananas, vanilla, and yoghurt. 

Sift in the flour, when it is nearly combined add in the nuts and chocolate. Stir to comine being careful not to over stir. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and baked until an inserted skewer comes out with only a few moist crumbs, about 30-45 minutes. 

Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before eating. 

Chocolate for Breakfast

We got a car this weekend! Well, the man of the house got a car this weekend. Clearly, as I don’t even have my learners permit, I am not using the car much, BUT it does mean that we can go hiking and and canoeing and kayaking and really start enjoying the great outdoors that Vancouver is so famous for. Which is tres exciting. I can not wait to be spontaneous about hopping in the car and getting out to the ocean or up into the mountains and just generally living a healthier life style. Which is great because perhaps it will start to balance out my daily butter intake.

Which is all a long way of saying that I’m feeling inspired to get at least my breakfasts on a healthier track. Que the banana muffin.

It’s moist, it’s full of chocolate chips, it lasts at least 4-5 days without tasting stale if you keep it in a closed container. And on top of all that these are made with whole wheat flour and of course bananas which make them pretty healthy. The icing on the cake is that they’re also delicious. Pun intended.

I used whole wheat pastry flour. If you can’t find it you can sift regular whole wheat flour to sift out the whole wheat germ. Or you can keep it in but it will be denser and chewier.

Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 cups Mashed Bananas (about 4)

3/4 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Butter

1 Egg

1/4 cup Buttermilk

1 cup Chocolate Chips

Melt Butter in a pan. Continue to cook until it gets brown on the bottom and it starts to smell like hazelnuts. Immediately remove from heat and pour into a container.

Preheat oven to 350F

Line 12 muffin cups with liners or butter and flour them.

Mix all dry ingredients except chocolate chips in a bowl

Add in all wet ingredients and mix until barely combined

Add in chocolate chips and fold in until just mixed through.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins about 3/4 full

bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Eat Eat Eat!