Ninety degrees and sunny, I love it. The sun slowly turning skin to leather, I love it. Sweat dripping from my body, I love it. Yes I am one of them, I am a summer worshiper. While most people morph into lobsters, and crawl around grouching about how burnt and hot they are, I tend to jump around embracing my inner firecracker.
Growing up in Jersey the summer always consisted of my mom complaining about the 108% humility and redoing her flat lifeless hair into perfect curls at least three times a day. My father, on the other hand, is where my approach to the summer came from. My father, if not at work, would spend the day bear footed in the garden or catching leathery skin on the boats all day.
One thing my family could always agree on was the fresh pick of summer. During summer our garden turned into Wonderland, and walking out the backdoor was falling down the rabbit hole. Colors glistened in the sunlight and water droplets, living illusions of rainbows lay hidden under every petal. There were rows upon rows of bushy carrot tops, hundreds of long green slender string beans, cucumbers whose vines reached across the earth, like a cat waking up from an afternoon nap. The zucchini as long, and heavy, as metal baseball bats and the tomatoes the size of softballs to complete the game.
The things that came out of these marvels could make even the pickiest person love their veggies. Homemade tomato sauces and pizza sauces, glazed carrots, Italian string beans in a red tomato sauce, and of course zucchini bread.
The breads of summer were always my favorite. Zucchini bread was the most popular in my household do to the sheer quantity o f Zucchini we had growing in the garden. My mother had a recipe for everything. But this zucchini bread was unlike anything I have ever had in my life. Somehow the outside of this bread was crunchy, while the inside moist and light. While the zucchini flavor could be tasted, you could also taste the sweet labors of summer. I have yet to get my fingers on this aged recipe card, but one day, one day it shall be mine… until then…
My second favorite summer bread that my mom would make was banana bread. The only reason we would have banana bread was if I did not eat the bananas my mom bought at the farmers market that week, and if that happened it ended in a shouting match, rather than a bread baking festival like I had hoped. I was often more scared of banana bread than happy to see it because if often reflected the agony and lecture that I had to go through.
As the years wore on I have come to love banana bread and have even tried to adapt a crispy outside similar to that of the zucchini bread. Today I had no sugar, but many bananas that needed to be put out of their misery. Instead of white sugar I used brown giving this bread a bit of a sweeter taste. I made chocolate chip banana bread, as well as chocolate chip peanut butter. These breads had a crunchy top a slight banana taste and a very sweet base. By far this banana bread takes the cake 100% in my book!
Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 Cup, or 2 medium bananas mashed
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ All-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Cup peanut butter chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Preheat a mini loaf pan. If you don’t have one you can use a standard loaf pan or you could buy one here.
- With a stand mixer combine sugar and butter in bowl at medium speed, until creamy.
- Add eggs and continue beating, scrape down side of bowl as needed.
- At low speed beat in bananas and vanilla.
- Beat in the rest of the ingredients at low speed.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and the optional peanut butter chips
- Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
- Scarf all down while warm, because let’s face it that is when they are the best.
- I mean, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store in a cool place, preferably the refrigerator.