I still have memories of myself running late for school and making a swift stop at a local Whole Foods Market. Just to the left of the door as I walk in, there is a baked goods displayed case. In that case, there are all kinds of yummy breakfast pastries. I have done this routine so many times, I know exactly where to look for my chocolate chip banana bread muffin. It is usually on the first two shelves, somewhere in the center. On my way to the cashier, I’ll grab a chocolate protein shake or a bottled green juice depending on what my eyes reach first. The total for my mad dash breakfast is usually just a little over five dollars. Now, I am making chocolate chip buttermilk banana bread to recapture some of that moment.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Banana Bread Recipe
On a good day, I can make it in and out of the store in less than ten minutes. After jumping back into the car, I would eat the chocolate chip banana bread muffin first. The perfect crisp top of the muffin would give way to the soft doughy center. I would try to stop crumbs from falling all over my outfits for the day. By the time I got to the parking lot of my school, the paper wrapped around the muffin would be empty and neatly folded. I would leave the empty wrapper in one of the cup holders. Then I would get out of the car with my juice or protein shake and go about my day.
This is one of the things I have missed about the old normal in pandemic times. Life has to go on. Really, I am lucky that life continues for me. In a somber mood, I remember that in the United States, many have died gruesome deaths from the COVID virus. Others are have survived with uncertain health futures. So to have a new normal in a body that hasn’t been attacked by the virus feels like a heavy dose of luck.
Feeling lucky does not exempt me from feeling nostalgic or feeling like I have lost a life that I understood.
The crazy frantic routines of a life that was moving fast definitely feel unhealthy now. There is something to be said about living life mostly at my own pace in my little apartment that I call home. I wake in the morning for my classes, sometimes with a few minutes to spare. All I have to do is walk to my computer and click on a few buttons to log into zoom.
School is one of the things that has changed so much in this pandemic era. I still smile when I think about the last time I was face to face on campus with my classmates. We all walked out of that last class without knowing that the next few days would transform out lives. I mean I told my friend I would see her soon. Instead, what was mean to be a one week spring break turned into several months without physical contact. There has been emotional contact though.
In this COVID era, I have had to learn to be vulnerable in creating an emotional connection. I can no longer depend on day to day small talk to build connection. Instead, I am intentionally reaching out to people to tell them how I feel. It is so normal now for me to say “I miss you” in a text or “let’s chat” or “Just checking on you.” It is these conversations that I have avoided for years that now provide a lifeline to me. This is especially true now that I live alone. I have to be very intentional in maintaining my friendships.
The highlight of my week centers around going grocery shopping at the local store.
The other day, I was at Market Basket in Somerville when I started looking through the discount stands. They had a glut of over-ripe bananas market marked down. Without thinking, I grabbed a couple of packs of bananas to make chocolate chip banana bread. When I got home, I realized that I really wanted to make the jumbo chocolate chip banana bread muffin that I got from Whole Foods Market. This required getting a jumbo muffin pan*. I haven’t really been able to find one in the past. Magically, I was able to track down one that was affordable online. It felt like kismet.
One thing that I like to do in my kitchen is to find ways to use up leftover from other recipes. I have been making ice-cream a lot so I often have egg whites in my fridge. This week, I had a substantial amount of buttermilk from making butter at home. I knew I wanted to use this up. From experience, I know that buttermilk often makes for very tender baked goods that have a beautiful crumb. So I was even more excited to add the leftover buttermilk.
My recipe for Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Banana Bread is one that I have played with for years. The basic Buttermilk Banana Bread is almost like a blank canvas to me to play with different flavors. My most baked variation definitely is the Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Banana Bread with walnuts added in for some crunch. Of course, if you have other nuts on hands, you can play around with those as well. Although, I am not sure how pistachio would go with bananas. Maybe that is an experiment waiting to happen.
The good thing about making your own food is that you can make it as luxurious as you want.
For me, the best bit of making chocolate chip buttermilk banana bread is deciding on the chocolate that goes in the bread mix. The fact is that I am not a fan of regular chocolate chips in banana bread. Please don’t hate me. I love chocolate. I just don’t feel like the teardrop chocolate chips make for the best eating experience. This why I like to use chocolate shavings in my chocolate chip buttermilk banana bread. Sounds like a scam, I know. I mean how is it a chocolate chip bread when there are no chocolate chips?
The reason I choose to use chocolate shavings for the best experience is because it disperses into the bread batter better. As you eat the bread, you are not going to hit a pool of overwhelming sweet chocolate. Instead, it is well integrated into the crumb so that you can taste it without feeling overwhelmed. Since I like controversy, I also like baking chocolate chip buttermilk banana bread with dark chocolate. The particular chocolate in this batch of muffins is eighty percent dark. I feel like dark chocolate gives you are better shot at actually getting to taste the cacao. Since the banana bread batter is already so sweet with the white and brown sugar mix, the slight bitter bite of the very dark chocolate adds complexity.
For added flavor, I have been known to brown my butter before using it to bake the buttermilk banana bread.
I am not going to lie. The slight nuttiness that you get from well-browned butter is worth the effort it takes to get it. Look! I know that not everyone is as crazy about squeezing every out of flavor out of food like I am. That is okay. Just remember, certain steps like browning butter are optional. If you are having a lazy day with lots of time, it is a good thing to try. If not, regular butter gives a fairly decent result.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Banana Bread
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Butter* You can also use browned butter
- 1/2 cup White Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Buttermilk
- 2 oz Dark Chocolate* chips, chunks or shaving
- 1/2 cup Walnut Pieces* Optional. Also toast if using.
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Also, prep your baking pan or muffin tray.
- Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda with the salt.
- In a bowl, whisk the butter, white sugar and brown sugar together until the mixture is a well combined pale color. I usually whisk for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, and whisk for about 2 minutes after each addition.
- Add in the flour mixture in 3-4 batches alternating wiht buttermilk. Incorporate each addition barely before adding the next. Do not over mix.
- Add in the chocolate and walnut pieces if using. Mix together until well combined. Divide the batter into a muffin pan or the baking pan.
- Place in the oven and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean. Using my deep jumbo muffin tin, it takes about 40-45 minutes. For smaller muffin tin, I suggest you start checking at 20 minutes mark.
*This is an affiliate link to Amazon. If you choose to use my link to purchase the product, I will earn a commission from Amazon. The money earned will allow me to keep investing in my creative pursuits like this blog.