I’ve often had people ask what inspires me to make a certain dish and quite honestly I never even think about it. I guess I’m fortunate that I don’t have to reach for inspiration; I have far more ideas than I do time to implement them. I’m inspired by things as simple as what’s in my pantry or freezer or something I see at the grocery store that gives me a new idea. Maybe it’s an idea that bubbles forth while reading a favorite cooking magazine and I want to try something they feature but with my own twist. Today I was inspired to make this bread because I really wanted a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
As much as I truly love creating in the kitchen; it would be unwise to envision me slaving over a stove every single day. Truth? I made spaghetti last week and I’ve had it for dinner every night the past 4 nights. No words to express how much I love leftovers! Some days though I don’t even have spaghetti in the fridge and I’ll resort to a bowl of cereal or a sandwich for dinner and that’s where I found myself the other day when I had a craving for a childhood favorite; a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
Unfortunately the bananas had just passed their prime and my favorite childhood treat would not work with mushy bananas. However, my craving for the combination wouldn’t leave either so I decided to punt and combine the two in a loaf of Peanut Butter & Banana Bread with Milk Chocolate Chips. While I’ve made lots of banana bread from over-ripe bananas, I’ve never been able to wax poetic about it. It’s something I do but not something I necessarily love. So this had me a bit more excited.
Baking does require some constraint though. While the bananas are important for moisture, I couldn’t add the same amount of peanut butter because in this instance it is the fat ingredient and that quantity would have been way too much fat in comparison to the other ingredients. So I added a layer of roasted nuts to the top of the bread which was perfect; that step not only elevated the peanut flavor but added a textural contrast that my testing panel loved. You know my testing panel right? My neighbors.
I had not planned on adding anything else but in what could only be considered a form of meant to be, I spied an open package of milk chocolate chips and knew they HAD to be part of the plan. I know the cool kids say that dark chocolate is the only chocolate but here’s one of my life secrets…I love milk chocolate so much more. Way more…I mean a WHOLE bunch more!
This was heavenly; really a great marriage of those two flavors with little pockets of milk chocolate from the chips. It was great with a cup of coffee for breakfast but sweet enough to be considered a dessert too. Even if your childhood did not include this combination in a sandwich, I’m betting you will love it too.