We keep bananas in the house as a relatively quick and tidy snack for everyone…though sometimes Belle goes on a banana strike and we end up with brown bananas. Time for banana bread!
First, a word of caution: things do not always go as planned. I expected Belle to spend a few minutes peeling and mashing bananas, but they were too soft for her to peel and she got distracted from her mashing as soon as the eggs appeared. Mise en place is critical for staving off disaster though, so I ended up moving through an unfamiliar recipe out of order while frequently moving ingredients out of reach and occasionally checking on Belle’s little brother Buddy.
In theory, mashing was a new-ish kitchen word/skill to build on her existing ability to peel. A three-part related direction (“peel the bananas, put them in the bowl, and mash them”) was an opportunity to practice following directions, receptive language, and sequencing.
We always crack eggs in a separate bowl, and I was not prepared. This gave us an unexpected chance to practice patience, and for me to model a calm demeanor despite being flustered. I asked a lot of questions as I scrambled: “what other ingredients do we need? Can you unwrap the butter? How many eggs are there?” as a form of distraction, but also to allow for counting and labeling.
Everything may have been out of order but we did manage to cream the butter and sugar first, then add wet ingredients, then dry. We didn’t talk about why that order matters, but I trust that we’re building habit patterns where Belle will always put the fat (butter/margarine/lard/etc) in the mixing bowl first.
Kitchen safety remains a learning objective, and Belle is getting better at keeping her hands away from moving parts. If her hands stray toward the bowl while the mixer is on, I quickly turn the mixer off and ask “where do your hands belong?” This position allows her to lean in to see the mixing while keeping her safe!
Skills worked on:
- following directions
- kitchen safety
- asking for help
- fine motor (scooping & pouring)
- food prep!
- mixer (stand or hand)
- mixing bowl
- several small bowls (for banana, eggs, dry ingredients)
- loaf pan (preferably 2)
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
Recipe (30 min prep, 1 hr bake, yield 2 loaves):
We based this Chocolate Chip Banana Bread off of this recipe from Butternut Bakery. We substituted regular vanilla yogurt for the Greek yogurt (it’s what we had, but do not recommend), regular chocolate chips for the mini chocolate chips (they sink in the batter but that’s okay), and whole wheat flour for all purpose white flour (no noticeable difference, so highly recommend for adding more whole grains). There was some extra batter, so we recommend splitting the batter into a second loaf pan.
Follow along as we test less sweet versions of this recipe: