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Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks and Forgiving My Apartment

So last night I found out that…nope, let me back track.

2 years ago I moved into my fabulous country apartment that I love so much. Second floor, lots of windows, big open rooms, enormous kitchen, a wooden deck overlooking trees and fields. I fell in love at first sight. 🙂

A few months after moving in I started to get sick. Really, really sick. For the last year and a half I’ve been to numerous doctors, all of them running myriad tests before sitting me down gently and saying those oh-so-encouraging words: “We have no idea how to help you.”

Fast forward to this week. New doctor, same result, but instead of giving up she asked me what I thought it might be. I suggested that perhaps there was something in my apartment making me sick, perhaps I was allergic to mold. Well, turns out I was right. I am allergic to mold and the apartment building is apparently riddled with the stuff and as of last night I have to move. Ack!

My first response was to immediately think of everything that had to be done, which, of course, completely overwhelmed me and made me want to find a soft spot to hide with a blanket over my head. So I did what I always do when I’m similarly bamboozled: I cook. 🙂

I popped in a Hercule Poirot mystery cd, collected bananas, a treasured bar of Scharffenberger dark chocolate, and other assorted ingredients, and mixed up enough batter for two loaves of whole wheat banana bread. Within thirty minutes my Evil, Naughty, Moldy Apartment smelled perfectly heavenly, and I forgave her for all the misery she’s caused me. 🙂

Then I scoured Craig’s List and have a few options that I’ll be checking out today. Phew! 

So in the spirit of “when one door closes, another one opens” I will share with you some of my favorite Italian door photos. 🙂 I will not, however, be sharing a photo of the banana bread because, in all the kafuffle, I neglected to take one. Grrr. 🙂

The entrance to an Italian villa I stayed in last spring.
 A door in Perdifumo, Italy
 A door in Laureana, Italy
 A door in the abandoned home of a runaway countess in Laureana, Italy
 A rather rundown, but lovely doorway in Laureana, Italy
 An artist’s doorway in Laureana, Italy

Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking)

Ingredients:

1/2 stick unsalted butter (I used salted. Next time I’m using oil and apple sauce for moisture)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)
1/4 cup honey (I used agave syrup)
2 large eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used ground almonds)
I added 1/4 cup desiccated coconut and 1 bar dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
  2. Beat together butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the banana, honey, and eggs, beating until smooth. Add the flour and nuts, stirring until smooth.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared pans and let rest at room temperature, uncovered, for ten minutes.
  4. Bake the bread for 40 minutes then lay a piece of foil gently across the top, and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 10-15 minutes more.
  5. Remove bread from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.



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