The Secret Banana Bread

I have always maintained that I am not a baker. 

I enjoy the intuition that accompanies cooking. I love the vibrant colors of my spices, the flourish of a spatula as it scrapes the bottom of a pan when I stir - a smooth stroke, the smell of onions caramelizing, garlic roasting, chilies sizzling, the crunch of seeds and sticks of spices grinding underneath my marble pestle, the feel of dough between my fingers as I knead it, and the sight of roti swelling with steam as I put it on the open flame. 

I do not enjoy the clutter of measuring cups, the tedious tasks of lining and buttering baking pans, preparing ingredients separately (wet and dry), and sitting idly while the oven does its magic. I know baking is therapeutic for some people, but it has always been an annoying task for me. This is why I have never served homemade dessert when I entertain (and I do a lot of that). Dessert always comes as an afterthought to me. I plead with my husband to run to the store and buy some ice-cream. For birthdays, I order expansive (and expensive) custom cakes because they are gorgeous and I can never pull off anything even close to what they look and taste like. Plus, I don't have a sweet tooth. Yes, I know I am very, very strange. 

Almost two years ago, our youngest sister came to visit us for the first time. And boy, does she love sweets. And so, for her, I decided to revive an old recipe of banana bread I had tried years ago with marginally good results. Little did I know that trying this recipe would actually lead to a mission to make the best banana bread possible. After much experimentation, some of it fun, some of it bordering on unpleasant, I have now come up with a foolproof recipe with two secret ingredients that I am about to reveal. This banana bread is loved and devoured by all, including the baby.

I hope you'll try it and give me your feedback!

All purpose flour - 2 cups
Dark brown sugar - 1 cup
Large eggs - 2
Ripe bananas - 3 to 4
Unsalted butter - 1 stick
Ground cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
 Salt - 1 teaspoon
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Half and half (or milk) - 1 tablespoon
Chocolate chips - half a small packet (I just eyeball them)

Secret ingredients (obviously no longer a secret now that they are on this blog):
Vanilla essence - 1 teaspoon
Ground nutmeg - 1 teaspoon

Pre-heat oven to 325 F and prepare a loaf pan for baking.
Mix the brown sugar with butter to make a creamy mixture
Mash in the bananas.
Add two eggs, one at a time, and mix in.
Add milk and vanilla and mix
In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg.
Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. 
Add chocolate chips and mix. This will be a thick creamy mixture. 
Transfer it into the loaf pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes.
Cool for at least an hour before slicing.   

Enjoy with a cup of cardamom chai.