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Chocolate Brandy-Spiked Pistachio Walnut Banana Bread

  Many a mood swing, a care-free summer, starting my senior year of high school, saying goodbye to a farm I made fudge at for three years, getting some really good friends, touring colleges, having sweet people buy me my birthday dinner, reaching the big 18, keeping up with this space, joining Sundays with Joy...

  2012, it's been crazy.

  It's only fitting that I combine all of these experiences into one crazy bread.

  This is the most tender, cake-like banana bread I've ever had.  It might just be on it's way to being my absolute favorite.  There's so many flavors going on, I can't even deal.

  There's a bit of warm zing from the brandy, the pistachios add a lovely bit of intriguing richness, walnuts give their flavorful crunch, the banana makes everything super moist, and the chocolate...is chocolate.

  I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical when I popped this into the oven.  Would the flavors really complement each other?  Was the brandy overpowering?  Were pistachios the right move?

  Seeing how beautifully it was doming in the oven helped, and the aroma was downright heavenly.  But you're just never sure until you take that first bite.

  And it was a lot more than alright.

  I think such a crazy year and the coming of an even crazier one allows for the absence of a more elaborate post.  Sometimes, the world just needs a good banana bread.  And I can think of no other way I'd rather finish off 2012 than with a slice of this lightly booze-y guy.  Hopefully I'll be sharing him with friends!

  Happy New Year, you've been swell.  May I continue to see you!  I hope this bread doesn't get in the way of your resolutions.  But really...you've still got a whole two days.  Give it a go :)

Chocolate Brandy-Spiked Pistachio Walnut Banana Bread
Yield: one 9x5 inch loaf

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for one minute after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the mashed banana, lemon juice, and brandy and mix until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients on low speed and mix until just combined.  Fold in the walnuts, pistachios, and chocolate chips. 

Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread to distribute it evenly (Be sure that your pan isn't more than 3/4 full.  I ended up not using all of my batter for some reason.  Probably because my pan is a little small.).  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Store bread at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook and Completely Delicious