September 4, 2014 at 1:00 am

Simply the Best

Banana bread recipe converts a former hater

Banana bread with chocolate chips and pistachios can change a skeptic's mind. (Kate Lawson / The Detroit News)

I love having out-of-town guests. We get to show off our cool city, and I get to bake my brains out to provide plenty of breakfast options, snacks or late-night sneak treats.

Recently, I baked a banana bread, culling ideas from several recipes until I think I came up with a stellar creation. I love banana bread, but I never make it the same way twice. When I offered some to my friend, she told me she hated banana bread. Instead of feeling defeated, I explained that this wasnt your ordinary loaf of banana bread. This one had chocolate chips and pistachios. She wasnt shy about telling me she didnt like pistachios, either. Hmmm.

I cut her a slice anyway, for her breakfast, served with creamy yogurt and fresh fruit. She took a bite and proclaimed that maybe she didnt dislike all banana breads, that this one was pretty darn good.

So with that ringing endorsement, I bring you a Pretty Darn Good Banana Bread. And one that I will certainly make again.

Pretty Darn Good Banana Bread

Recipe from Kate Lawson

1 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon salt
cup semisweet chocolate chips
cup pistachios, toasted, chopped (can use walnuts or pecans)
cup dark brown sugar (can use light)
cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 9- by 5-by 2-inch metal loaf pan. Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Combine chocolate chips, nuts and brown sugar in small bowl; add 1 tablespoon flour mixture and toss to coat.

Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture. Spoon of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of nut mixture and all of coconut. Spoon remaining batter over. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture.

Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 331 calories; 17 g fat (9 g saturated fat; 46 percent calories from fat); 42 g carbohydrates; 26 g sugar; 57 mg cholesterol; 272 mg sodium; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber.

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