Simple and toothsome, this banana bread can be made without the chocolate chips — but why-ever would you choose to do such a thing if you didn’t have to? I like to stick bananas that are just past their prime in the freezer for later use; I defrost for 20 minutes or so before mashing them up well with a fork.
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 very ripe bananas, coarsely mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour (or one white, one wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the bananas, vanilla, and eggs and beat until smooth. Add the buttermilk and beat just until combined.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and beat just until combined. Add the chocolate chips. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It should be no more than two-thirds full. Bake until the loaf is dark golden brown and dry to the touch and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, 55 to 60 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Let the bread rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into thick slices to serve. Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf.