Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a standard glass, loaf pan with enough parchment paper to overhang the two opposing long sides by one inch. Set aside.
Melt the butter alternative. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar for 1 minute.
Place the vanilla beans onto a cutting board. Carefully slice the pods down the center lengthwise (using the tip of small, sharp knife works best). Next, run a butter knife down the pod to collect the seeds inside. Place the scraped vanilla bean seeds into the bowl. Discard the pods.
Place the eggs and milk alternative into the bowl. Mix together until well combined.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. For this step, I prefer to fold the flour into the wet ingredients by hand with a silicone spatula. You only want to combine the ingredients until they just come together. Over mixing can produce a gummy texture in your final product – NOT good
As far as the bananas: select bananas that are yellow with a multitude of brown markings on the skin (as seen in my photos). You do not want to use bananas whose skins are completely yellow. You also do not want to use bananas whose skins are more brown than yellow.
Remove the bananas from the skins. Break apart the bananas into small, 1/4″ chunks. Hint: bananas break apart very nicely right along their natural seams. Place the bananas and chocolate chips into the batter. Again, using a silicone spatula, fold the banana chunks and chocolate chips into the batter.
Please note that you DO NOT want to completely mash and mix the bananas into the batter. The beauty of this bread is the chunks of bananas in every bite.
Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 60-65 minutes. Place a cake tester in the center of the loaf to test for doneness. The loaf is done baking when the tester comes out free of batter.
Once you have removed the bread from the oven, run a butter knife around the edges to loosen. Allow the bread to sit in the pan for 30 minutes prior to removal.
I highly recommend allowing the bread to completely cool before serving. If you can, allow the bread to cool at room temperature, lightly cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator. The bread is EXCELLENT chilled!