If you’re like me at all, you have a collection of overripe bananas in your freezer, destined for bread. I have a pretty fool-proof (and delicious) recipe for banana bread given to me by my mother, but I wanted to change things up this time around. And what better way to do that than with chocolate?
I was reminded of a batch of chocolate-banana ice cream I made for my friend Matthew as a Christmas gift. I asked he and his wife, Sarah, what their favorite flavors of ice cream were, and that is what I gave to them as gifts. I much prefer giving edible gifts over anything else for holidays and birthdays. Matthew said he loved the combination of chocolate and banana, and I totally agree. Why not turn that into a bread?
The bananas (minus one) are still a little frozen in this photo, my apologies.
I was hoping for a bread that was more dessert-like in texture, and I think this was a success. It had the dense consistency of pound cake, and the banana flavor was just subtle enough not to be overpowering. However, I would probably omit the chocolate chips in my next batch of this bread. I say this only because (as you might know if you read this blog) I don’t prefer overly-sweet dishes. The chocolate powder was perfect on its own and needed no extra help from the chips.
All-purpose flour sifted with cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
While the bread was baking, it filled the house with the most delicious smell, and it was also a cinch to put together! I based my recipe on one from Dorie Greenspan, but of course, made a few changes. The total baking time she listed in the recipe was off for me, so I had to increase the time by about 15 minutes. I’m not sure if I just have an old oven or what, but these are the sorts of things you have to look out for when baking. Keep an eye on things and you should be fine!
As you can see, the batter is quite thick.
This bread was perfect with coffee in the morning, as well as with a scoop of buttermilk ice cream after dinner. Yum!
Chocolate Banana Bread
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking–From My Home to Yours
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk (don’t substitute – trust me)
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
Center rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Spray (or butter) a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. (Dorie says that this extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking.)
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until softened, about one minute. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a full minute after each egg.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Still on low speed, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated. If using, stir in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with an aluminum foil tent to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. A thin knife inserted in the center should come out clean.
Dorie says the total baking time should be between 70 and 75 minutes, but I had to tack on an additional 15 minutes to the baking time after I tented the bread. You may find you have to do this, or you may not. Either way, test if after 45 minutes and continue to bake until it is done.
When bread has finished baking, transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let sit for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
We stored ours wrapped in plastic and then in foil. Dorie says that it will keep for 2 days if wrapped this way; wrapped airtight, it will keep for 2 months in the freezer.