is there a food that makes me more nostalgic for being a little kid than banana bread? okay, maybe it's tied with dunkaroos, but banana bread transports me right back to childhood. it seemed magical to me as a kid that my mom would take a bunch of totally brown speckled bananas - just on the verge of being way too ripe to eat - and transform them into something completely new and delicious. (ps - with all this focus on reducing food waste, how perfect is banana bread??)

i must've had a thing for the dessert loaves of bread my mom would make. i distinctly remember this amazing lemon poppy seed cake she made for a church fundraiser once and my six-year-old self did not want her to give it away. so, i asked my dad for money at the fundraiser and he handed over a few bucks, no questions asked. i proudly bought back my mom's poppy seed loaves - no qualms about the fact that my parents paid for the ingredients to make the cake, then paid again to buy them back. as far as i was concerned, i had my hands back on a dessert that shouldn't have left my kitchen in the first place...

fast-forward twenty years, and i can't look at brown spotted bananas without craving banana bread. because my parents are headed to california for the week (lucky ducks), when they dropped me off in dc after the holiday break, they packed up a bunch of food they wouldn't get to eat (okay, who is lucky now??). that meant i had a bunch of perfect bananas; within an hour of being home, hamilton mixtape was on and the oven was preheating. 

and as a side - i've covered my kitchen with funfetti sprinkles thanks to cake batter cookies and layer cakes on layer cakes, so maybe a dunkaroos spread is what i need to make next :) 

as a second side - i think this banana bread would be a perfect addition to the cake toast party that's been taking over my instagram feed. how amazing would a slice of banana bread be pan-toasted with a dollop of sweet cream cheese frosting? my six-year-old-self would've been proud. 

chocolate chip banana bread

adapted from bon appetit's best ever banana bread
makes one 8½ X 4½" loaf (about 10-12 servings)

what you'll need:
nonstick vegetable oil spray
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
½ cup plain whole-milk greek yogurt
2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
4 large very ripe bananas
½ cup milk chocolate chips

what you'll do:

  1. preheat oven to 350° fahrenheit. spray a 8 ½ x 4 ½" loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. be sure to leave plenty of parchment paper overhang on the long sides of the pan, as this will help you lift this very heavy loaf of bread out of the pan after baking.  
  2. in a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. set aside.
  3. in a large bowl, beat brown sugar, greek yogurt, whole milk and butter until light and fluffy with an electric mixer on med-high speed (approximately four minutes). crack the eggs in one at a time, beat in and use spatula to scrape down sides and thoroughly combine with mixer.
  4. take one banana and lay on cutting board. carefully slice banana in half longways, set one side aside to place on top of loaf. take remaining 3.5 bananas and mash in small bowl.
  5. slowly pour brown sugar/yogurt bowl in flour mixture and combine at low speed. mix until just incorporated. pour in mashed bananas and mix until combined. using a spatula, fold in chocolate chips. pour batter into prepared loaf pan. smooth out the top and place banana slice on top. 
  6. bake for about 1 hour - 65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out of center of loaf clean. 
  7. remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. lift loaf out of pan using parchment paper and let cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing and enjoying.