Banana Chocolate Bread

 

Along with a few other fruits and vegetables, bananas are a staple in my home.  They’re a must for smoothies and more importantly, they’re a great source of energy for bike rides.  Bananas are also potassium-rich which means that they can help stave off muscle cramps during or after a ride.

The only thing I don’t like about taking bananas along on bike rides is that they sometimes get mushy in my jersey pocket, rendering them almost inedible.   Most people might not mind this but I happen to prefer my banana on the barely-ripe side, as in no dark spots or bruises. For this reason, I’ve started to take prunes with me on my rides.  Yes, prunes.  I know they get a bad rap because of their very, let’s just say, fast-acting nature.  But, they contain more potassium than bananas and are much easier to carry.  And just in case you’re wondering…there’s no prune effect if you eat only a few at a time.  I think you know what I mean.  🙂

But even though I’ve substituted prunes for cycling, I haven’t adjusted my banana purchases accordingly.  Hence,  the latter would end up forgotten, sitting on the counter uneaten, rotting.  This week I was determined not to waste anymore so I decided to make banana bread.

Quick breads are so gratifying to make since they require no advanced skills.  My early forays in the kitchen included easy recipes for zucchini and banana bread.  It made me feel so good to be able to make “bread”.  While the the recipes I used were good at the time, none has been memorable enough for me to hang on to.  Until this afternoon.

I found a recipe in one of my Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks that seemed perfect to try.  The book has a variation on banana bread that contains chocolate and since I had all the ingredients I got to work.

This is a definite keeper.  The bread was moist, cake-like, not overly-sweet and a pure delight to eat.  The soft inside was a nice contrast to the crusty outside.  More importantly, the prominent banana flavor was unmistakable in every bite.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with the addition of chocolate and I was happy to see that it did not compromise the balance of the other ingredients.  Rather, it provided just a slight chocolate finish which elevated this bread from ordinary to truly exceptional.  My previous banana bread recipes have also been oily and this wasn’t at all.  The use of plain yogurt did the trick in providing additional moisture in a very healthy way.  Leave it to the folks at America’s Test Kitchen to deliver a winning recipe.

 

Banana Chocolate Bread

From: The New Best Recipe:  All-New Edition

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped coarse
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) grated bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe, soft, darkly-speckled bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350º F.  Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.  Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet for 5-10 minutes or until fragrant.  Set aside.

2.  Whisk all the dry ingredients together, including the grated chocolate, in a large bowl and set aside.

3.  Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in another bowl.  Lightly fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky.  Transfer batter into the greased and dusted loaf pan.

4.  Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Cool in the pan for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


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Comments

  1. Love banana breads, they’re the best, and this one looks so good with the chocolate and nuts!!

  2. I love any kind of banana bread and this one looks delicious. I think it’s a healthy treat that I would enjoy after a hike or nibbled on while golfing, why not? Thanks for sharing another yummy recipe.

  3. This is my go to recipe too! So moist and delicious. Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos. I always love the way your food looks.

  4. The bread looks so light and moist! Great photos 🙂

  5. Chocolate with banana is a great combination of flavors! Must try your recipe next time!

  6. What a gorgeous banana chocolate bread! I too, like barely ripe bananas but I’m not a fan of prunes. 😉 I love adding chocolate to banana bread for my sweet tooth. 🙂 Bananas and chocolate go so well together!

  7. There is something so awesomely comforting about banana bread. Banana bread with chocolate? There are no words.

  8. Beautiful! I’d love to try this recipe, and then play around with some peanut butter inside of it, too… Looks divine!

    Jessie
    http://www.themessiekitchen.com/

  9. I have some overripe banana’s just aching to become a cake!! thanks for the inspiration and watch out for those prunes…lol…depending on how long your bike rides are it could be a little risky!

  10. hopeeternal says:

    This is the second chocolate & banana loaf I have seen today! The texture of yours looks great. I love the idea of using chocolate with bananas. Perhaps this is a prompt for me to give it a go!
    Banana is a great cake ingredient and I have a recipe for Banana & Date Cake on my site posted not long ago: http://hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/banana-date-cake/
    hopeeternal
    ‘Meanderings through my Cookbook’
    http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

  11. Beautiful photos, awesome recipe. Plus I love the chocolate and walnut addition. I love recipes that call for mushy smooshy bananas since my kidos will not touch them by then.

  12. What a perfect loaf of bread! I bet that would be great toasted with fresh butter melting on top. Great photos too! Enjoy your weekend!

  13. trissalicious says:

    The last picture of your banana bread post is absolutely mouthwatering. I’m very glad the bananas didn’t go to waste. 🙂

  14. Banana bread is a staple in my house, and I feel like I have my recipe from the betty crocker cookbook memorized completely! It is the best and most tasty way to use up old bananas. 😉 And adding chocolate = heavenly.

  15. I hate old bananas- they sweeting/sour smell, brown color, mushy texture, an unbecoming relic of a delicious fruit. I am not one to make banana bread- baking freaks me out- but if someone else made it, I’d have no problem eating it.

    This looks yummy!

  16. This bread looks wonderful! I could never have too many banana bread recipes (luv banana bread/muffins)…I look forward to borrowing your recipe!

  17. Beautiful! I’m like you, I actually prefer my bananas (when eaten raw) on the green-yellow end of the ripeness spectrum. And if it makes you feel any better, prunes can now be called “dry plums.” LOL, less embarrassment that way. Anyway, I love chocolate in my banana bread, it raises it up to dessert status in my house – just love that combination!

  18. Yummm! Love a good slice of banana bread, and yours looks marvelous… Wish I’d give my bananas a chance to turn into bread, but I manage to eat them all/underbuy/overbuy… absurd.

  19. This is something that would last about 6 minutes on my kitchen counter. Congrats on Top 9. GREG

  20. My husband is the king of all things banana bread. Sometimes I sneak in some chocolate chips into one of his loaves, and it’s my FAVORITE combination.

  21. I love how this bread if flecked with nuts and chocolate. I’m certain I would love it more if I had a piece right now. And I giggled at your use of the phrase “prune effect.” 🙂

  22. I’m not a good baker so prolly this recipe will give me the confidence to bake more.. because . yeah i do love the idea that it is an easy bread to make… and with it’s cake like texture, this bread is a sure win!

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