Every time I buy bananas, whether it's three or a big bunch, I know at least one of them will inevitably turn brown on my counter.
But rather than toss the lonesome badnanas (as I've taken to calling them), I started peeling and freezing them with the goal of someday turning them into Super Mom Baked Deliciousness.
Instead I ended up with giant freezer bags bursting with badnanas. So many I didn't know what to do with them. But I was determined. I spent a year freezing the stupid things, so I wasn't about to give up on them. I would magically reinvent them into something edible.
Then I remembered my friend Kate's chocolate chip banana bread. She is an editor extraordinaire at the Mirror. And she proofreads this very column to make sure I didn't screw anything up. (Hi Kate!)
This is the most moist, delicious, sweet-but-not-too-caloric-to-make-you-feel-guilty-about-eating-half-a-loaf-in-one-sitting bread. She would bring in warm mini loaves right out of the oven, and everyone in the office would swarm until someone got desperate enough to pile the remaining crumbs on a napkin to take back to their desk.
I revised the directions a tad to reflect how to make it at my house. But bakers with young children can alter as necessary.
Kate's Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large bananas, mashed
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Hold up your toddlers so they can push a few buttons because they're now crying at your feet that they didn't get a turn at the "beeper game."
Grease four 6-by-3-by-2-inch mini loaf pans. And the rest of your kitchen counter. Because your 6-year-old wanted to help and oh, look at that. Go upstairs and change shirts. Soak the one with spray grease in the sink after dousing it with stain removal spray.
In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil and eggs until blended. Remove the little bits of egg shell with your fingers after you've moistened them with egg. They stick magically to your fingers that way for some reason! Good thing, too, because your kids smashed them into the bowl like it was the side of a house on Halloween.
Remove the plastic triceratops from the sugar container and put it away before it ends up on your floor.
Too late. While you let your guard down, the bowl you were mixing in goes on the ground instead. Clean up entire mess. Start over. Borrow unaccounted for eggs from neighbors if necessary.
Add bananas and mix well. When your children start gagging at the sight of the black bananas that they liken to things normally seen in a toilet, encourage them to close their eyes.
Don't give up. You're halfway there. Ignore the fact that your dog just dragged in all of the grass clippings in the entire back yard onto the floor you just scrubbed free of egg and sugar.
Add flour, baking soda and salt. If half of the desired amount of each of these actually makes it into the bowl, consider it a win.
YES, YES. YOU CAN NOW OPEN THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Yes your kids can have some. Oh my gosh, the incessant asking was brutal. Yes, I get it.
Stir in chocolate chips. (However many you can pry out of their grippy hands.)
Pour into mini loaf pans. Hopefully they're bored by now and move on to something else. If not, turn on the oven light to let them watch the loaves bake. Listen for 45 to 50 minutes as they ask whether it's done yet.
Ironically, freeze any loaves you won't eat immediately. Or give them to friends. Just don't let the last one sit on your counter thinking someone will eat it until it turns to mush and then throw it in the garbage.
Like I did. Ugh.
Kelly Valeri is a former Mirror copy editor who lives in State College with her husband and children.