Bananas should be dubbed “the Food of the Quarantine.” Hasn’t anyone noticed the amount of banana bread recipes online has gone up exponentially? And why not? They have a built in protection system, giving them an impressive shelf life. And they’re delicious!
Since many of us are avoiding going to the grocery store so often, you may find yourself to have some brown bananas that you’re not sure what to do with. Banana bread is the easiest and most delicious way to use up your softened bananas that you might mistake for compost.
Banana bread needs very very ripe bananas. This is the time that the sugar content in the banana is at it’s highest, lending the best flavor to your bread.
I had a few extra things laying around the kitchen, so I went ahead and added a chocolate cheesecake center, casually. Not only is this banana bread good on its own, but it has a surprise chocolate cheesecake center!
I’d like to add that I gave my mom about 1/4 of this loaf, and she said it was the best banana bread she ever had. So there’s that!
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch cinnamon to taste
Pinch nutmeg to taste
Chocolate chips for the top, optional
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
Mix together your cheesecake center first. Take your cream cheese out of the fridge at least a few hours in advance to allow to come to room temperature.
Once softened, melt chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Put back in for another 30 seconds and stir again. Repeat until smooth, maybe one more time.
Add cream cheese to chocolate along with the sugar and vanilla. Mix to combine and set aside.
For the batter, cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy with an electric hand mixer. Add your soft bananas, no need to mash beforehand because the mixer will mash them.
Add eggs and combine with mixer.
Add dry ingredients and spices and mix until only a few dry spots remain.
Switch to a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter. Fold batter until it just comes together.
Prepare a loaf pan with butter and a coat of flour. Add 1/2 batter to the pan and tap to pop any bubbles.
Take chocolate cheesecake mixture and add spoonfuls to the center of the batter, leaving about 1 inch border from the sides of the pan. Make as even as you can, but don’t worry about making it too perfect. Add the second half of batter on top the cheesecake mixture. Add optional chocolate chips to decorate the top of the bread.
Bake at 350° for 55 minutes. You may need to tent the top with foil if your bread gets too browned on top. I did and mine still got a lot of deep color on top, and was still slightly gooey in the middle. Make sure you use a cake tester long enough to go through the whole cake.
Allow to cool completely before turning the bread out onto a wire rack. Slice and serve!