4 Bananas Chocolate Chip Banana Bread or Muffins

banana loaf

I used four soft, speckled bananas to add natural sweetness and rich banana flavor to this delicious bread with minimal oil and sugar. The bananas and just 3 tablespoons of olive oil make this bread moist.  Add strawberries for a taste of strawberry jam or blueberries. Add chocolate chips for a nice gooey sweetness.

strawberry banana bread

muffMakes one loaf or 12 muffins.

speckled bananas

Ingredients

1/3 cup 1% or skim milk

1 tsp lemon juice

1 cup unbleached white flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

¼ cup ground flax seed

A dash each of nutmeg and cinnamon.

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar plus 1 Tb for sprinkling on top. I used turbindo sugar for sprinkling.

4 bananas (1 ½ cups mashed)

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

3 Tb olive oil

¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate bar pieces

3/4 cup roughly chopped strawberries (optional)

1/2 cup blueberries (optional) If you are using frozen blueberries, defrost them and drain them before adding

½ cup walnut and/or pecan pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F.

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Add lemon juice to milk. Let it sit while you are mixing the other ingredients. The milk should curdle, resembling buttermilk. (You can skip this step and use buttermilk instead if you prefer).

Sift both flours, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, and flax seed.  Stir well to combine ingredients.

whipped egg and sugarWhip eggs in mixer until well combined. Add sugar and whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes until creamy.

Mash bananas with a fork or potato masher. You can also whirl them in a food processor. Add them to the egg mixture, along with olive oil and vanilla. Whip for another minute.

With mixer on low, add half the milk and half the flour mixture, and then repeat. Mix only until ingredients are almost combined. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips and/or blueberries (if using) until they are just combined.

Spray a loaf pan or muffin tins with non-stick spray. (because of the low fat content of the ingredients, you should spray paper muffin cups with non-stick spray if you choose to use them.) For extra buttery flavor, wipe a smear of butter at the bottom. Pour in batter. Sprinkle the top with turibindo sugar.

Place on the middle shelf of preheated oven. Bake loaf 1 hour- 65 minutes, muffins for 35-40 minutes,  just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Remove bread from pan and let cool on a rack a few minutes before slicing.

banana bread with cream cheeseDelicious spread with cream cheese!

Lemon Ricotta Cornmeal Pancakes

serving with pecans, strawberries ricotta cream

Inspired by a similar pancake I ate at the organic restaurant Gather in Berkeley, I invented this recipe. I loved the lemon ricotta cream with the grated Meyer lemon, topped with strawberries. Mix a few tablespoons of pecan pieces with maple syrup and scatter on top. It is sublime mixed with apricot jam and fresh peaches.

Flax seed meal amps up the nutrition level. Combine milk with lemon juice first, and let it sit while you mix the other ingredients. The lemon juice will curdle the milk so it resembles buttermilk.

Makes about 15 medium-sized pancakes. Half recipe is in parenthses.

Mix milk and lemon juice:

2  2/3 (1 2/3) cups milk (I use 1%)

1 (1/2) tsp Meyer lemon juice

Mix other wet ingredients:

¾ cup (1/4 cup plus 2 Tb) ricotta cheese (full fat is rich and low-fat is healthy. Sometimes I combine them to get the best of both worlds.

2 (1) large eggs

½ tsp grated rind of Meyer lemon

2 (1) tsp vegetable oil

2 (1) tsp melted butter

Mix dry ingredients:

1 (1/2) cup cornmeal

1 1/4 cup (1/2 cup plus 2 Tb) whole wheat pastry or finely ground flour. If you can’t find this, use 3/4 cup (1/4 cup plus 2 Tb) whole wheat flour and 1/2 (1/4) cup all-purpose white flour

1/4 (2 Tb) cup ground flax seed

2 (1) tsp baking powder

½ (1/4) tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 (1) Tb sugar

Stir in:

½ (1/4) cup sliced blueberries and crushed raspberries if desired

1/2 (1/4) cup pecan pieces

Directions:

Combine wet ingredients, mixing well.

Alternate 1/2 of milk mixture and dry ingredients, stirring only until lumps disappear. Fold in blueberries and nuts if desired.

Heat oiled skillet or pancake grill. Rub a cube of butter over surface. Fry pancakes over low-medium heat.

Lemon-ricotta cream:

1/3 cup ricotta cheese

½ tsp lemon juice from Meyer lemon

½ tsp grated Meyer lemon rind

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp maple syrup (pure is best)

Whip ingredients together for about 2 minutes. Serve over pancakes with fresh strawberries and peaches. Top with apricot jam or maple syrup if desired.