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Makes 1 loaf.
3 very ripe bananas, mashed½ cup walnut pieces2/3 cup sugar1 ½ cups all-purpose flour4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted1 large egg1 teaspoon baking sodaLarge pinch salt½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
Place the bananas on a plate and let them sit at room temperature until they turn brown, 2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 350F.
Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until light golden and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool
Place the sugar, flour, butter, egg, baking soda, salt, bananas, walnuts and optional chocolate chips in a bowl and with a wooden spoon, stir together. Alternately, you can place the mixture in a stand mixer and with the flat paddle, mix on low speed just until thoroughly mixed.
Pour the mixture into an oiled loaf pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake in the oven until a toothpick when inserted into the middle of the banana bread comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the edges and remove from the pan. Cool on a rack.
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