Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are absolutely bananas about … bananas. First, there was the cuddly bananas Instagram post, then the former royal chef’s tales of the prince’s longtime banana love, and apparently Meghan loves bananas with her oatmeal.
On Wednesday the Duke and Duchess of Sussex further showed their affinity for the popular fruit, and impeccable guest etiquette, when Markle brought a homemade banana bread to one of the stops on the couple’s Royal Tour of Australia.
In addition to the bread, they also brought along Fortnum and Mason tea to visit the Woodleys, who run a local farm in the regional city of Dubbo. The unexpected gift was reportedly a hit with other attendees. The duchess is believed to have baked it overnight in the kitchen of the Admiralty House, where they are staying during the first stop of the 16-day tour.
Markle is tight-lipped about her exact recipe but she did share two of her secret ingredients – chocolate chips and ginger. I was curious about the unexpected combo, so naturally, I had to try it myself.
Pinterest led me to a five-star recipe for Elise Bauer’s banana bread which I added some Markle magic to.
I rounded up all my ingredients and tools before starting the process
Believe it or not, this seemingly innocuous task is very important to me because there’s nothing worse than getting halfway through and realising you’re missing baking soda or the right dish. The beauty of this recipe is that no fancy mixer was needed – just a bowl and a spoon. I’m sure Meghan would approve.
This recipe had a secret ingredient of its own
The first step called for mixing melted butter with the bananas. I was a bit thrown by this method because I’m used to whipping my butter and sugar into a creamy, light concoction. But supposedly this is the secret to the great flavour so I decided to trust the process.
The riper the banana, the better
If all you have are yellow, firm bananas then, you can use those with a bit of a trick. But typically overripe, spotted bananas are best. They crush easily into a paste and are sweeter. Because of this inherent sweetness, I usually opt to use less sugar when baking with fruit. This recipe ranged anywhere from a cup to a half cup. I erred on the side of caution with the half cup.
Flavour the egg first
Next, I mixed in the eggs and vanilla extract. I like to keep my wet ingredients together so I combined the two before pouring it into the mixture. It also helps distribute the vanilla flavour better. Or at least I think so.
Add a dash of ginger
One of Meghan’s secret ingredients was ginger. Because we don’t have exact measurements I shaved off a teaspoon of fresh ginger. The root tends to be pungent and a bit spicy so a little goes a long way.
Time for secret ingredient number two
I’m not a chocolate lover so I would never think to add chocolate chips to banana bread. But hey, this is all about Meghan. I threw in a 1/3 cup of milk chocolate chips and a bit of cinnamon before folding flour into the batter. Cinnamon was nowhere in this recipe so let’s just say that was a secret ingredient of my own.
When I was satisfied that all ingredients were properly mixed I put it through the spoon test – I stuck the spoon in the center to stand. It did not fall over, which meant my mixture was oven ready.
My mixture was ready, but I was not
I totally forgot to preheat the oven. After I hurriedly cranked it up to 350 degrees, I buttered a 5×9-inch loaf pan. I usually put a dollop of butter on a napkin to evenly and easily grease my pan. Also, no messy fingers. By the time I got all the batter into the dish, the oven was hot and ready.
It looks pretty good!
I let it bake for an hour before testing. When I stuck my skewer in, a.k.a a large knife, it came out with a bit of mixture on it so I left the bread in an extra 15 minutes. The chocolate will obviously melt, so that’s not the best indicator of doneness.
Honestly, it was amazing. I could have done without the chocolate but my flatmates vehemently disagree. One of my fears was that the chocolate would overpower the banana but that was not the case at all. Both featured prominently.
The ginger added a faint hint of spice and paired well with the cinnamon. The real MVP was the buttery flavour infused throughout and in the slightly crunchy brown crust.
This was low fuss but pretty awesome, a perfect recipe for the duchess.
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