Chocolate Chunk and Toasted Almond Banana Bread

I am not very good at meeting new people, in fact, I am not really a great verbal communicator at all before you get the chance to know me. I’m just a little on the awkward side of shy. When I was younger I didn’t know how to deal with the way my pulse would thrum against my throat when I met someone for the first time; upon greeting a stranger the flush of blush would begin at my feet and race like wildfire up to my hairline.

I guess some of the awkwardness fell away after I returned from my first overseas trip and realised that I too had stories to tell. When I started working as a wellness  research counsellor I had to learn to build rapport with strangers – quickly.

The road to a friend's house is never long ~ Danish Proverb

The road to a friend’s house is never long ~ Danish Proverb

And then I stumbled across the best way to make strangers into new friends, the golden secret that will earn you hugs from those who are only hand-shakers, and invitations to return to your host’s table as soon as you can.

Baking.

The scent of butter and sugar in their highest forms is like a friendship potion; when the scent of vanilla, almond, and chocolate surrounds you, you carry your own intimacy-evoking elixir. Suddenly, my nerves disappeared whenever I carried something to the table that I had created to share with the gathered company.

To bring something, to provide a small part of the bounty of the table, or just to surprise people with a treat, is to share some small part of yourself. I know that when I turn up with a brown paper package or a plastic container, the barriers that I used to put up are somehow broken down, and I can ease people into my personality, show a little of what I am like, without having to say a word.

The scent of this banana bread will draw people close to you. Share a thick slice of this toasted almond and chocolate chunk laden loaf with a stranger and you won’t stay strangers for long. Let the thickly-woven crumb make you brave enough to share who you really are, and wash away those nerves of first-time meetings.

Tell me, dear readers, do you get nervous when you meet new people? Any tips for me?

Loaves of banana bread ready to go.

Loaves of banana bread ready to go.

Chocolate Chunk and Toasted Almond Banana Bread

Makes two 8 x 5- inch loaf pans: one to keep, one to share.

Ingredients:

  • 350 grams plain flour
  • 150 grams brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 250 grams light ricotta cheese (you could use yoghurt if you don’t have ricotta)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 100 grams butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup almonds

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two 8×5 inch loaf pans with baking paper. Spread almonds out on an unlined cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Once they are done chop roughly and set aside to cool.
  2. Weigh plain flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl and whisk to aerate and combine.
  3. In a separate bowl beat together ricotta, eggs, mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla. Mix until very well combined.
  4. Add banana mixture to flour mix and stir until almost completely combined. Then add chocolate chips and half a cup of the chopped toasted almonds and stir until distributed throughout batter.
  5. Divide mixture between pans and scatter the tops with the remaining almonds.
  6. Bake loaves in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. You may need to cover the cakes with aluminium foil towards the end of baking if the tops are browning too quickly.
  7. Remove loaves from oven and cool for 10 minutes in the tins. Then, turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
All packaged up and ready to go.

All packaged up and ready to go.

5 thoughts on “Chocolate Chunk and Toasted Almond Banana Bread

  1. Gorgeous! Almond, banana and chocolate are the perfect mix.

    I don’t really get shy, though I used to. Now it’s my job to talk to strangers. I figure if I go first then they’re more scared of me than I am of them, so I’ll just let ’em!

  2. So exciting. A new relationship and lots of new people to go with it. Every new person is a possibility of an amazing friendship, a new connection, a new inspiration.

    I loved the first 3 months of being with Big A and meeting each others friends. Yes, I did get nervous on occassion but it is soooo much fun becoming a part of someone else’s world… especially when you know deep down thats where you belong :=)

    Enjoy… its a special time and remember that in a years time these people you may be nervous about meeting now will probably be your best friends with whom you are so comfortable. So enjoy the process :=)

  3. My mom was just saying to me and my Dad this morning, that the best way to keep your man happy (we were talking about a person’s bridal shower that my Mom went to yesterday, because she gave her baking stuff, and I had just made muffins) is to make him baked goods. I think it doesn’t just apply to happy significant others though, but always family and friends too. I have made countless baked goods over the years and seriously, I think it’s better than any material thing you can give someone! I’ve rather eat good, homemade and loving food!

    I wish I had read this before I made my banana bread this morning or I would have tried your recipe. Next time!

  4. Gorgeous banana bread, I love the crunchy topping and that sweet little card. And yes, people tend to love baked goods you make for them! It’s often a good way to settle into a new workplace.

    Meeting new people is difficult for most of us; I was quite shy when I was younger but in my 30s, with more than 10 years of nursing under my belt and learning (like you) to build a rapport quickly with new people, it’s become much easier.

    The best tip is a big smile when you meet people I’ve found and taking an interest in them, asking questions about family, kids, jobs, etc (people love to talk about themselves).

    You sound a lovely person from your blog though so I’m sure you do very well when you meet people.

  5. Pingback: Coffee Banana Date Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s