Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

Hello. It’s been far too long. Life is so crazy. Can you ever forgive me?

Here, I brought you some incredibly delicious banana bread to make it better.

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Or banana mush. Or banana muffins. Or banana cookies.

Or whatever form fits your fancy.

I must first add a brief disclaimer: the oatmeal must first be ground in some sort of food-processing device before adding the rest of the ingredients. If your kitchen just happens to be lacking in a food processor, place the oatmeal in a large plastic bag and use a meat mallet (or some other utensil to that effect) to grind it up to a meal-like consistency.

Second disclaimer: your batter may not make it into the pan. Really, there would have been more of the final product had I possessed enough self-control to keep my fingers out of the mixing bowl.

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Whoops.

However, there is no worry of potential acquisition of salmonella; this is an eggless recipe! Which means no stray eggshells will end up in your bread (also, I originally typed “beard” instead of “bread”. Probably a sign I should drink something caffeinated).

How many times have I already raved about peanut butter? Or peanut butter and chocolate? Or peanut butter and banana? Or…peanut butter? Probably enough for you to remember that I really, really love peanut butter.

And this recipe combines many of my favorite things: bananas, chocolate, peanut butter, and oatmeal. Oatmeal is one of my favorite baking ingredients; not only does it add a beautifully chewy texture and substance, but it also adds a distinct, nutty flavor. Oats are intrinsically satisfying.

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Aren’t they cute?

Despite the simple ingredients, the taste is sublime. With nothing added in excess, the flavors are complementary: just enough brown sugar to subtly emphasize the cinnamon, enough peanut butter to notice but not overpower, and a perfect amount of oats to lend their chewiness but not dominate.

Why can’t people work together so harmoniously like that?

No matter. Maybe this bread will bring about world peace.

The active time of this recipe is not consuming. After you have measured out the oats and blended them, simply add the rest of the ingredients, mix, and bake. Or, if you prefer, omit the baking powder and simply eat the batter straight. Yes, it’s that good.

If you prefer muffins, mini or standard or enormous, or a cake-pan sized loaf, or some other manifestation, I’m sure those will work just as well. Just be aware of the potential time adjustment.

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Oh, and feel free to add more chocolate chips.

Easy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Egg-free!…and with no-bake option!)
Slightly adapted from Baker Bettie
Makes 1 loaf pan or about 6 mini loaves Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups oatmeal (old-fashioned)
  • 3-4 medium mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the loaf pan(s) and set aside.
  2. Measure oatmeal into blender or food processor and pulse until powder or meal consistency, or little less fine if desired.
  3. Combine oatmeal and remaining ingredients, except for chocolate chips, to a mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepare pan(s). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are browned and toothpick in center comes out clean. Devour.

No-bake option: Omit the baking powder and add up to an extra cup of oatmeal (not ground). Spoon mixture onto yogurt/etc., or eat straight from the bowl.

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New Starlight Cake.

Question: who had the brilliant idea of using a toothpick to check for a cake’s doneness? I really want to meet them.

Speaking of cake…

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Caaaaaaaaaaake.

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With chocolate frosting. And chocolate curls.

I was luckily able to go home for a long weekend for Easter. But, since I unluckily wasn’t home for my birthday, my mom decided she wanted to celebrate while I was home. Thus, we decided to tag-team the making of my birthday cake and broke out the Betty Crocker cookbook.

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My grandmother was, apparently, quite a good baker, and we ended up with some of her cookbooks. She specialized in delicious summer pies (endeavors which I am not quite ready to contend with yet) but also made wonderful cakes. But the reason they were so good was because they were made from the bottom of her heart – because she cared for whoever she was making the dessert for. Even though I never really knew my grandmother, I feel she’d be proud of me for taking after her and loving people through the food I make for them.

Hunting for a good yellow cake recipe turned out to be more difficult than expected. There are a gazillion recipes for a good chocolate birthday cake…what about a yellow birthday cake? Are yellow cakes too boring? Are they not festive enough? Are they not flavorful enough? (If you were wondering, the answers to the latter three questions are no, no, and no)

No offense to chocolate cake, or you chocolate cake lovers. I just love me some fluffy, wonderful yellow cake.

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Oh, from scratch.

Of course.

I tweaked the recipe a bit to my own personal taste and from what I had researched online. Using buttermilk in baked goods has become my standard procedure, and just a little bit of almond extract makes a big difference. What I was particularly surprised about, though, was one of Betty Crocker’s instructions: “Combine all ingredients in bowl.” All at once? Just like that? All right, I can handle that.

So I floured the pans, combined and mixed the ingredients, placed them in the over, and waited.

And then…cake.

Glorious, glorious, yellow cake.

Well, technically, “New Starlight Cake”. Whatever that means.

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Of course I had to add sprinkles.

New Starlight Cake
adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 15th Printing (1972)
makes 2 round 9-inch cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • a few drops of almond extract
  • 4 eggs, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 round 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Measure all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using a hand-mixer, blend for about 1/2 a minute on low speed, constantly scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Beat for about 3 minutes on high speed, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  5. Pour into pan(s). Gently shake to ensure cake batter is equally distributed.
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes if using round pans or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

(By the way, I made chocolate cream cheese frosting – unfortunately, it was not everything I hoped for. Substitute your own favorite frosting.)