Without fail, the purchase of a bunch of bananas implies that one of the bunch will end up entombed in my freezer. It’s always the same story. We buy bananas, intend to eat at least one a day and by the third or fourth day, we burn out. The banana that was lemony yellow and unblemished on Sunday becomes a brown-flecked tube of sickly sweetness on Thursday. That lonely, time-tattooed, orphan banana in the bowl always rides to the freezer on a sea of good intentions – I’m not wasting it, I’m preparing for banana bread! The fact that I found a brown, frozen banana in each of four layers of my freezer’s sedimentary melee of forgotten foodstuffs is evidence that it has been a while since my good intentions did anything other than pave paths. I’ve been so energized by yeast breads for the past several months that I’ve treated quick breads with shameful neglect. It’s probably good that we don’t buy bananas very often.
As the name implies (and as discussed in the recent contest entries), they are quite quick. More of a batter than a dough, they are typically mixed, poured, and baked. The baking can last for upwards of an hour, since the batter tends to be quite wet, but that’s the most time-consuming part of the process. Getting yourself to the oven stage of a quick bread is, generally, a dump-mix-pour program. In that sense, it’s a lot like a cake.
This recipe doesn’t produce the tallest loaf in the world. As you can see from the pictures, it’s rather compact. It is not, however, dense. The chocolate and chocolate chips add a sweetness and richness that make the shorter slices seem appropriate.
I’ve jazzed up the bananas here by simmering them with a bit of rum. This is optional. If you find yourself with a pile of ready bananas and no rum, don’t worry. The recipe will still work. If you are worried about the alcohol content of the finished bread, fear not. The alcohol will completely cook off between the simmering and the baking. Whether or not you simmer the bananas, be sure they are very well mashed. If you leave big globs of banana in the batter, you’ll end up with boggy wet spots in the bread.