I found myself childless and alone, aimlessly wandering a Nordstrom attempting to return a pair of on sale, over priced Ray-Ban sunglasses, the frames suffocatingly hip for me.
It’s all about choices, honey. This sentence spoken so intimately, I turned around, searching for the voice. I found a mother/daughter pair, or so it seemed, slowly walking next to each other, each gazing in different directions. [Choices. Some they will share, others unmentionable in this relationship.]
I quickly returned the sunglasses and drove home; it’s all about choices on repeat now, a sentence so achingly true. Like our blue-eyed, rabbit chasing heroine, Alice, I fell into a rabbit hole that afternoon. My choices floating in out of memory: some too easy, others heartbreaking, a few regretful and a handful of hallelujah, brow-wiping ecstatic choices. I may have kept falling that April day if it weren’t for the sound of little hands banging on the front door, tiny, round faces pressed against the glass. Home again. This family, my husband, our house: a wonderland in its own right.
Later that afternoon, I made banana bread. I replaced peanut butter with tahini, a choice, though small, proved successful. The tahini added a umami taste which paired well with the sweet bananas and bittersweet chocolate. We loved this version of banana bread so much, I may not make it any other way.
A small choice changing everything.
Tahini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
yields 1 9×5 loaf
recipe adapted from Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 + 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 + 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 + 1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 + 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 + 1/4 cups mashed banana, about 3 bananas
2/3 cup tahini, stirred well before measured ( I used light roast tahini.)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 raw sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with butter or cooking spray. Line with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, allspice and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, bananas, tahini and butter on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. (Always scrape down the bowl once to make sure everything is well incorporated!)
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and chocolate chips. Mix until you can no longer see the flour. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes about clean, about 55-70 minutes. (If the top of the bread is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil and finish baking.)
Remove bread from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. (If necessary, run a knife along the outside of the bread before removing from the pan.) Remove bread from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!
*Bread will last up to a week if stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.*
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