If I'm traveling somewhere you'll always, always find in my car at least a case of water and some sort of snack. Chase never misses an opportunity to make fun of me about this, but one day we will be stranded with lots of water and food and I just won't share. You just never know where you're going to be staying if you go somewhere new, and I have this somewhat irrational fear that I will be thirsty and without sweets. Also, I'm a total early bird who eats within 3 minutes of waking up, otherwise I get hangry, so it's just better for everyone for me to be prepared.
Even if you don't share my irrational fears of being stranded without sweets, banana bread is a good traveling companion: it lasts for a couple of days, (it's actually better on day 2!) it doesn't have to be refrigerated, it's served best slightly warmed but it's still delicious if you don't have a way to heat it up, it's satisfying, and the list goes on. It's also a great dish to bring as a gift to your host. And depending if/how many chocolate chips you use, it can double as a dessert.
If nothing else, it's also the best way to use up those brown, bruised bananas that you don't want to eat.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of all spice
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Chocolate chips, optional and as many as your little heart desires (I've never measured chocolate chips once in my whole life)
Walnuts, optional, but chopped if you use them
Preheat oven to 325.
Grease and flour a loaf pan.
Sift flour into a medium sized bowl and combine with baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice. Set aside.
In standing mixer (or bowl with hand mixer!), cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.
Beat in eggs, one a time, until combined.
Beat in bananas, until the bananas are broken up into small pieces.
Add in vanilla extract, buttermilk, and lemon zest. Beat until thoroughly combined.
Add the flour mixture and GENTLY stir. Gently is the key word here. And stop as soon as the flour is combined. Taking your aggression out on your flour mixture will make your bread dry and tough :( !
Add in your chocolate chips or walnuts if using.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Every time I cook this bread the baking time is different. This is partly due to my old ovens and partly due to the fact that banana breads can be finicky. The last time I made this, at the 30 minute mark the top was golden brown and the inside was still raw! I'd check your bread every 15 minutes or so. If the top is starting to get too brown, you can cover with foil and continue to cook. Sometimes this recipe will take as little as an hour or as long as an hour and a half.
Once a toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan and transfer to a rack to finish cooling.