I love banana bread. It’s one of the great uses for bananas that have ripened a little too far. The one thing that makes it better is adding chocolate… hence, chocolate chip cranberry banana bread.
Banana bread and banana ice cream are the two reasons I keep so many bananas in my freezer. Either recipe can use frozen bananas. You just have to defrost them for a while to make banana bread. Defrosted bananas are even mushier than overripe bananas, but that’s fine for this kind of recipe.
You can, of course, also simply use overripe bananas without freezing them first. The only reason I use frozen ones as often as I do for this recipe is that I’m not always in the mood to make something when I realize my bananas are overripe. You know how fast that happens.
You can freeze bananas in their peels if you’re making banana bread out of them. Don’t do that for banana ice cream, though. Sliced frozen bananas work for either recipe, so if I have the time, I usually slice the bananas before freezing.
Banana bread is definitely not necessarily healthy. While it has bananas, it also has a lot of added sugar. It still makes a pretty good breakfast as well as a dessert.
You want about 3-6 overripe bananas for this recipe. That’s the other reason I love using frozen bananas – it’s not always easy to get that many overripe bananas when I want to do this. There are times when I buy bananas and for some reason my family ignores that whole bunch, but most of the time I only get one or two overripe bananas at a time. That’s not enough for this bread.
The exact number of bananas you’ll need for this recipe depends on how big the bananas are and how much banana flavor you want in the bread. Aim for about 2 cups of bananas after they’ve been mashed if you really need a measurement. I’ve gone as low as three bananas with good results.
The chocolate chips in the banana bread aren’t strictly necessary, but they are good! You could also add nuts if you like. I don’t because one of my kids absolutely hates nuts. Not allergic, thank goodness, just doesn’t like them. The dried cranberries give a nice extra flavor to the bread that goes very well with the chocolate.
If I want to improve things just a little, I replace some of the regular flour with whole wheat flour. This doesn’t change the taste that much so long as it’s less than half the total flour, but I like to think that it’s a little bit healthier.
Start out by defrosting any bananas that need to be defrosted. This may take an hour or so. Flip the bananas over occasionally as they defrost – it goes more quickly that way.
When you’re ready to get started, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel all the bananas you’re using in the recipe and place in a bowl. Defrosted bananas will just kind of slide out of their peels. They’ll look unappetizing, but the taste is just fine. Mash the bananas and put aside.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir gently to combine. No mixer yet unless you need a cloud of flour all over your kitchen.
In another bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla and mashed bananas and blend. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture.
Do not overmix this part. You just want to moisten the entire flour mixture. Stirring with a spoon or spatula may go better than using your mixer.
Add the chocolate chips and cranberries, and stir in with a spoon.
Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes in the oven. Check for doneness with a toothpick. It should come out clean… unless it hits a chocolate chip. Melted chocolate doesn’t mean the banana bread isn’t done, of course. Test the banana bread in a couple places if you aren’t sure that it’s done.
Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before moving the loaf to a wire rack to finish cooling. Or be lazy and serve the chocolate chip cranberry banana bread straight from the loaf pan.
- 3-6 mashed, overripe bananas
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
Defrost bananas if frozen. This should take about an hour if the bananas are still in the peels, less time if they are sliced.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F after bananas have defrosted.
Peel and mash all bananas. Put aside.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Cream together brown sugar and butter. Mix in vanilla, eggs and mashed bananas. Blend well.
Add banana mixture to flour mixture. Stir in until moistened. Add in chocolate chips and dried cranberries, and stir.
Grease a loaf pan and pour in banana bread dough. Bake for 60-65 minutes in oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted in the middle. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.